The Philly POPS today announced the election of Dr. Rollo Dilworth as the new Chair of the Board of Directors, replacing POPS Board Chair Joseph Del Raso who will remain on the Board. The Board also approved the appointment of Karen Corbin as President and CEO of the POPS. Corbin replaces POPS President Frank Giordano, who also will remain on the Board to aid the transition.
The selection of Dilworth, Vice Dean of the Boyer School of Music and Dance at Temple University, as Board Chair reflects an intention by the POPS to shift focus in favor of its education and community engagement initiatives while simultaneously reworking its subscription series performances previously held at the Kimmel Center, where the POPS had been a founding resident company until the suspension of its resident company status in January. Coupled with the change in leadership, the Board indicated that it is seeking to meet with the leadership of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. (POKC) – the Kimmel’s parent company – to discuss resolving their differences and finding a mutually acceptable path forward.
“I am honored to serve as Board Chair for the Philly POPS, which is such an important part of Philadelphia’s performing arts community,” said Dr. Dilworth. “We believe that the POPS has a bright future that allows us ample opportunity to be innovative in presenting the music that our audiences have loved for so many years and finding new connections with our community of patrons and students.”
The changes were unanimously approved by the POPS Board on Monday night as part of the Board’s commitment to developing a sustainable long-term financial model for the POPS.
“As the largest standalone pops orchestra in America, the POPS has always been about the music and the joy that it brings to our audiences,” said new CEO Karen Corbin. “But over the last decade, the POPS has been building a unique and innovative approach to presenting its music, chiefly through a set of educational activities and community initiatives, and our intention is to expand the scope of these programs while still providing opportunities for audiences to enjoy the POPS music that they love.
“As we regroup in the aftermath of the pandemic that has had such a devastating impact on all performing arts organizations, what’s clear is that the POPS is an artistic force in Philadelphia, providing a range of original performances of this uniquely American brand of music,” Corbin said. “Our intention is to reconnect with our audiences while also pivoting to expand our educational programming and our unique community engagement agenda.
“As part of this strategy, we look to resolve our differences with the Kimmel and work together for the benefit of the patrons we both serve,” Corbin said.
Board Chair – Dr. Rollo Dilworth, Vice Dean of The Boyer College of Music and Dance.
More than 150 of Dilworth’s choral compositions and arrangements have been published—many of which are a part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series with Hal Leonard Corporation. Additional publications can be found in the catalogs of Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Colla Voce Music, Inc. Dilworth is a contributing author for the Essential Elements for Choir and the Experiencing Choral Music textbook series, both published by the Hal Leonard Corporation/Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Publications, and for Music Express! Teachers Magazine. He has authored three books of choral warm-up exercises intended for elementary and secondary choral ensembles, entitled Choir Builders: Fundamental Vocal Techniques for General and Classroom Use (2006); Choir Builders for Growing Voices (2009); and Choir Builders for Growing Voices 2 (2014).
A frequent presenter at local, state, regional and national conferences, Dilworth has conducted 43 all-state choirs at various levels (elementary, middle school, high school), and has conducted six regional honor choirs and four national honor choirs (ADCA, OAKE and NafME). He has most recently appeared as guest conductor for international choral festivals and master classes in Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Ireland, and China as well as all-state choirs in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Arizona and Massachusetts. He also has led honor choirs for the Central and Southwest regions of the American Choral Directors Association. International festival and clinic invitations include Canada, Singapore, Austria and France.
Dilworth serves on the National Board for Chorus America as well as the boards for the Presser Foundation and Beyond the Bars. He is an active life member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He also holds memberships with several other organizations, including the National Association for Music Education (NafME), the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). In 2017, he received the Temple University Faculty Award for Research and Creative Achievement.
President and CEO – Karen Corbin
Karen Corbin has been a member of senior staff at The Philly POPS since 2014, serving most recently as Chief Operating Officer since 2019. Corbin established the POPS’ longstanding community engagement initiatives: The Salute Series, concerts of civic celebration on national holidays such as Memorial Day and July 3rd and 4th; the POPSinSchools supplemental music education activities; and programs generally provided for the School District of Philadelphia. Throughout her career, Corbin has provided leadership in restructuring cultural organizations and implementing innovative program strategies.
Before the Philly POPS, Corbin served as Senior Vice President of Programs, Marketing and Business Development at The Franklin Institute, and Chief Operating Officer of the International SPY Museum in Washington DC. Before that, Corbin was the Senior Vice President of Programming and Development for Tribune Entertainment in Los Angeles. A native Philadelphian, Corbin began her career working at four of the six television stations in Philadelphia.