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Making a Difference Through Music

Monterey County Pops! is an orchestra dedicated to bringing pops and patriotic music performed by professional musicians free-of-charge to the families and visitors of Monterey County while identifying, engaging and educating under-served youth of Monterey County.

Musical Director, Dr. Christensen, appeared on YourTown TV hosted by Paulette Lynch to discuss the Monterey County Pops! and its critical mission. You can watch the full 20-minute interview here.

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The Monterey County Pops! strives to:

  • Present accessible, free pops concerts for Monterey County residents  and visitors.

  • Provide musical support for local arts organizations and presenters, such as the Monterey Opera, and Carmel Bach Festival.

  • Offer creative outlet for professional musicians and youth from Monterey County.

  • Encourage personal development in youth through mentoring programs with arts professionals.

  • Promote understanding and enjoyment of orchestral music through quality symphonic concerts focusing on community participation.


All of this is made possible by generous support from the Monterey County community.


The Montery County Pops! was formed in 1985 by a group of community members and musicians who wanted to expand and enrich the musical experiences available in Monterey County.

Guided by a board numbering between 15 and 20 members, the new symphony began with an annual subscription concert series under the baton first of Oleg Kovalenko and then of Dennis de Coteau. In the late 1980’s, the symphony came under the direction of Michael Nowak. At that time, the venues expanded to include Carmel, Monterey, and Salinas.

In 1990, directed by Drs. Jack Bayes and Carl Christensen, the symphony adopted its current mission: presentation of free public pops and patriotic concerts on holidays.

Since 1990, the fully professional symphony has presented free outdoor pops and patriotic concerts annually on the lawn in front of the Old Del Monte Hotel on the campus of the Naval Postgraduate School;  provided musical support for the California International Airshow in Salinas; partnered with Monterey County communities to celebrate the 4th of July; and, helped usher in the Holidays with a Children’s Concert in Monterey.

In 2012, the symphony rebranded itself as the Monterey County Pops!  after careful study and consideration. This new name is designed to bring a crystal clear understanding of the commitment to serve all of Monterey County with free concerts played by professional musicians emphasizing popular and patriotic music.


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