A Brief History of the Glen Rock Pops

In 1975, Sue Johnsen, Violinist and Glen Rock resident had “a good idea.” As Curriculum Coordinator for the Glen Rock Board of Education’s Community School, she formed a community orchestra under the auspices of the Community School that would play popular music.

Dennis Leogrande conducted 13 musicians at the first rehearsal on the Glen Rock High School stage on September 25, 1975. After finishing Sing by Joe Raposo, Conductor Leogrande noted: “I looked down at my watch and felt just then, September 25, 1975, at 8:30 PM, the Glen Rock Pops was born.”

By the date of the first Glen Rock Pops concert on April 9, 1976, the orchestra had grown to 40 members.

The Pops has now performed about 300 concerts in venues ranging from shopping centers, libraries, schools, churches, assisted living facilities, fireworks celebrations, as well as private receptions in catering facilities.

In 2013, the Pops became a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, but the original mission to be a positive cultural influence in the community through the gift of live, popular music remained unchanged.

The gems in the Pops concert season are the three free concerts performed in Glen Rock each year. The community can attend a holiday concert as well as a spring concert at Glen Rock High School. A concert is also performed on the evening of July 3rd to celebrate America’s birthday on the lawn at Glen Rock Borough Hall.

The Pops acknowledges the fundamental and continuing supportive relationship the orchestra has with the Glen Rock Community School and the Glen Rock Board of Education. With their assistance and cooperation, the Pops is proud to continue to enrich the cultural life of the community.

History of the Glen Rock Pops written by Sue Johnsen and Wendy Asea