The Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1984 by Managing Director Dawn Manuel and Music Director Louis Panacciulli. Their idea was to develop a Long Island orchestra devoted to the performance of light classical and popular music. The orchestra has proudly filled that void, and since then has also established a reputation for community service.
The Nassau Pops performs a full summer concert series in many of the parks in Nassau County. A typical evening might include famous classical overtures, light classical favorites, medleys from the great Broadway shows such as My Fair Lady, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, or Oklahoma, music from the movies and television, and marches by John Philip Sousa. Instrumental soloists are often featured and vocalists Jack and Ann Cassin are always on hand to entertain audience members.
The orchestra has had the privilege of working with many prestigious entertainers. Among them are composer Marvin Hamlisch, singer/recording artist Linda Eder, Saturday Night Live’s Joe Piscopo, singer/impressionist Marilyn Michaels, The Cast of Beatlemania, the original members of The Brooklyn Bridge, and song writer Jimmy Webb. A recent PBS special had as its centerpiece, our concert performance with tenor, Michael Amante. It was broadcast in over forty cities across the country and received a New York Emmy Award nomination.
Each year, The Nassau Pops performs a Gala Benefit for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. Corporate and private contributions are used to cover the necessary concert expenses which enables the orchestra to donate all box office receipts to the charity.
In 2014, in celebration of the orchestra’s thirtieth anniversary, The Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra presented A Tribute to the American Spirit in support of The Independence Fund’s Track Chair Program. This concert raised a total of twenty-three thousand dollars and was used to purchase hi-tech customized track chairs for severely wounded veterans returning from the battlefield. The performance was an afternoon of surprises and long-lasting memories.
Based in the Village of Mineola, the orchestra also maintains affiliations with Nassau Community College and the Mineola Choral Society. Since 1987, they have been an integral part of many ceremonies at St. John’s University, and of course, there is the traditional Christmas performance at Chaminade High School in Mineola.
The musicians are deeply committed to their music and their cause, which is simply to give something back to their community. A full summer concert series is always offered to audiences free of charge. This is their way of saying “Thank You!”