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The Boston Pops: 125th Anniversary Contest

You may have heard of them … or, rather, of it: the Boston Pops Orchestra is one branch of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), the most recorded orchestra ever and, quite possibly, the most famous orchestra in the world! Read about its history and find out how you can win!

125 Years Of Music

In 1885 the founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Henry Lee Higginson, decided that there was a need for "concerts of a lighter kind of music" in Boston. So he began the Boston Pops (then called the Promenade Concerts). The Boston Pops gave their first show on July 11, 1885. The rest is history.

At first the Boston Pops only performed for upper-class audiences. In 1924, a violinist named Arthur Fiedler organized a group of BSO members to perform free concerts that anyone could attend. In 1930, Arthur became the conductor of the Boston Pops, who was so concerned about the lack of classical music available to the lower classes that he started the Annual Fourth Of July Boston Pops Concerts on the Esplanade on the Charles River. The concert is free of charge and every year between 200,000 and 300,000 people attend.

Arthur passed away in 1979. In 1980, composer John Williams became the new conductor of the Boston Pops. He brought with him popular music that he had composed for many Hollywood films, like Jaws, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Harry Potter, to name just a few.

In 1995, Keith Lockhart became the conductor for the Boston Pops. He began POPSearch in 2004, a singing competition in which the winner receives a cash prize and the opportunity to perform with the Boston Pops. He also started a high-school singing competition for teens in Massachusetts in 2008. It's called the Boston Pops High School Sing-Off: A Best of Broadway Challenge.

Concert Contest

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the Boston Pops is holding a national contest to bring a family of four to the Fourth Of July Concert. To enter, you must submit a 125-character-or-less message describing why the Pops should choose your family as the winner. You can submit your entry by text message, on the Pops’ Facebook and Twitter pages, or on the Boston Pops Website by May 15, 2010. Good luck!

Have Your Say

Ever been to a concert? Let us know in the Comments section below!

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