Guest Artists | Page 4 | The Philly Pops

Guest Artists


Michael Andrew, vocalist

For two years, Michael Andrew was the headline singer and bandleader at the world famous Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York City, where he entertained audiences nightly and hosted a live radio broadcast, Live from the Rainbow Room. He was the bandleader and singer at Merv Griffin’s “Coconut Club” in the Beverly Hilton in California. While on Larry King Live, Merv called Michael Andrew “one of the great singers of all time.”

A frequent symphonic pops guest artist, Michael Andrew has appeared with orchestras in Akron, Albuquerque, Birmingham, Charlotte, Melbourne (Florida), Houston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Missoula, Orlando, Pasadena, Philadelphia, Providence, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, San Antonio, Sarasota, and other cities across America.

He wrote the musical comedy, Mickey Swingerhead & the Earthgirls, that was a hit with audiences and the press. The hit show led to the formation of his band, Swingerhead, which remains a favorite among audiences and has toured extensively throughout the country. Michael also formed the Atomic Big Band, an 18-piece band that has performed in Hollywood for the premier of the Warner Bros. movie, Poseidon, and his bands continue to play engagements from Presidential Inaugural Balls to high society fundraisers.

On the other side of the curtain, as a composer, lyricist and book writer, he's created shows paying tribute to the writers of the American Songbook including Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, and the Gershwins. He composed / performed his music for motion pictures including Heartbreakers, Inglourious Basterds, Mad Hot Ballroom, Bobby Jones – Stroke of Genius, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Recently, he produced music for Mitch Album’s new musical, Hockey, which debuted in Detroit.

Michael Andrew starred in the world premiere of the new musical, The Nutty Professor, written by Marvin Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes and directed by Jerry Lewis. Time Magazine praised his “terrific lead performance” and Jerry Lewis called him “one of the best talents to come down the pike in 50 years.”

Michael Cavanaugh, vocalist

Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook. A charismatic performer, musician and actor, made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out.

Michael Cavanaugh was handpicked by Billy Joel to star in title role and evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man himself. Michael appeared in the show for over 1,200 performances over 3 years, receiving accolade after accolade, which culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.

Michael began playing at age 7, when his parents bought their first piano. Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero Billy Joel, Michael formed his first band at age 10 and began playing local functions, fine tuning the craft that would become his chosen career. His first full time gig as a musician was an extended engagement in Orlando, Florida at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos.

In January of 1999, Michael received an offer that would unknowingly change his life, with an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there that Billy Joel spotted Michael and joined him on stage one fateful night in February 2001. It only took two songs before Billy was convinced that he had found his new Piano Man: Michael Cavanaugh. Michael closed up shop at New York, New York and moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp, to shape the Broadway Musical that would be called Movin’ Out.

With the close of Movin’ Out at the end of 2005, Michael began touring with a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook. Michael continues to perform worldwide for company and charity events as well as sporting events, including PGA Tour events, the U.S. Open and the Indy 500.

It wasn’t long before symphony orchestras discovered Michael’s talents and audience appeal. He accepted his first orchestral booking, Michael Cavanaugh – The Songs of Billy Joel and More debuted in April 2008 and continues to tour. In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD titled In Color. In June 2010, Michael debuted his second symphony show in the Generations of Rock series entitled Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John and More, and then debuted his third symphony show, Singers and Songwriters: the Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor in 2012. He continues to tour all three symphony productions.

Peter Richard Conte, Organist

Peter Richard Conte is highly regarded as a skillful performer and arranger of organ transcriptions. He has been featured several times on National Public Radio and on ABC television’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight. His monthly radio show, The Wanamaker Organ Hour, airs on the first Sunday of each month and can be accessed online via He performs extensively throughout the United States and Canada under the management of Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, and was a featured artist at the American Guild of Organists’ National Convention in 2002, and at the International Organ Festival in Aosta, Italy, in September 2004. In 2013, the Philadelphia Music Alliance honored him with a bronze plaque on the Avenue of the Arts’ Walk of Fame. He has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philly POPS, and with Delaware and Allentown Symphonies.

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus is a 180-voice ensemble that performs with the Philly POPS under the direction of Jeff Kern, Head of the Vocal Division for University of the Arts.

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus began performing in 2002 and performs with the POPS orchestra during the annual Christmas concert series and Broadway series. The chorus has performed with many professional artists including Faith Prince, Capathia Jenkins, Ashley Brown, Lisa Howard, Lauren Kennedy, Rachel York, Alice Ripley, Ann Hampton Callaway, and The von Trapp Family Children.

The Festival Chorus is an auditioned, volunteer organization composed of singers ranging from high school students to retired professionals.

Tony DeSare, vocalist & piano

Tony DeSare performs with infectious joy, wry playfulness and robust musicality. Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei.

Voices of the POPS

The Voices of the POPS is a vocal ensemble that often accompanies the Philly POPS orchestra and adds to the rich sound of concerts.

Since its debut in 2000, The Voices of the POPS has become an integral part of the POPS, performing a wide range of music at concerts. This multi-talented group adds to the versatile orchestra by providing a new dimension to the already imaginative arrangements. The animated vocal element brings lyrics and melody to life against the rich tapestries of the orchestra's sound. 

The ensemble regularly performs with the POPS at Salute Series performances, including Memorial Salute and POPS on Independence, as well as in traditional concert hall shows.

Consisting of professional performers and led by choral director Jeff Kern, Head of the Vocal Division at the University of the Arts, The Voices strives for excellence in the performance of a broad repertoire. The ensemble is a twelve voice professional choir performing an extensive array of theatrical, operatic, and choral repertoire.