The American Pops Orchestra is committed to preserving classic American music. We present concerts that showcase music from all sectors of the American experience – featuring our nation’s most talented and celebrated artists. Our NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow competition allows us to showcase the next generation of great performers. The competition strives to expose college-aged students to songs with which they are unfamiliar. To enter, contestants must sing pre-1970 American popular songs not found in the Singer’s Musical Theater Anthology for their voice type.
Founded in 2018, our NextGen competition began with students from five universities and has now expanded to include students from across the United States and Canada. During the COVID-19 pandemic NextGen transitioned to a virtual setting, allowing us to reach an even wider audience and larger pool of aspiring young artists.
NextGen strives to provide opportunities to each and every student who wishes to participate; there is absolutely no cost to compete. In addition, APO provides free masterclasses about performing, recording, and working in the music industry, among other topics. Competitors also receive accompaniment tracks and custom arrangements free of charge. Selected finalists are invited to perform live with members of The American Pops Orchestra in the final round, with all expenses covered by APO. First place female and male vocalist winners receive a $1,000 scholarship and second place winners each receive a $500 scholarship. All winners also receive a paid performance opportunity with the orchestra.
APO is proud to award the Chip Hand Prize for Vocal Excellence to the first place male vocalist. Made possible by the generous support of Ambassador Lloyd and Ann Hand, the prize memorializes their beloved son who was an acclaimed musician and recording artist. The annual presentation of the award allows Chip’s legacy to live on through young, aspiring performers.
The American Pops Orchestra has made it a priority to not only maintain Pre-COVID content in a virtual form, but also create new content to keep our audience engaged and our musicians employed. As an organization that strives to break the mold of concerts, we are using COVID-19 to reimagine our normal operations. Since March we have streamed two full original concerts, created solo performances by instrumentalist and vocalists, rethought our Music and Mindfulness series as a more often and virtual event, and partnered with organizations across the country in our virtual trivia series.
In addition, APO has held multiple in-person socially distanced outdoor Porch Concerts that provide our audience with the opportunity to safely see live art despite the current situation around us. Throughout the pandemic, APO has employed hundreds of musicians and artists and in a time when many other organizations couldn’t. In the words of Maestro Luke Frazier, “we never stopped.”
Moving forward, APO is proud to present our NextGen National vocal competition which will include students from across the country competing virtually for the chance to win a monetary prize and the opportunity to perform in a future APO MainStage Show. This will include a virtual audition and semi-finals with a live (COVID permitting) finals in Spring of 2021. APO has also filmed multiple productions that will be broadcast nationally on PBS. APO has been grateful to keep creating and making music despite the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will keep working to bring you, our valued audience, original and unique content.
To support APO as we keep moving forward you can click here, so that we can continue to employ more artists and musicians. If you have any questions about what APO has been doing during the pandemic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and stay safe.