Herb Smith Conducts The No Name Pops in Their Debut in Verizon Hallat the Kimmel Cultural Campus, October 28

Featuring Chester Gregory, who portrayed Berry Gordy on Broadway in Motown the Musical, Brik.Liam and Ashley Jayy.

By: Oct. 02, 2023
Herb Smith Conducts The No Name Pops in Their Debut in Verizon Hallat the Kimmel Cultural Campus, October 28

The No Name Pops will have their debut performance at the Kimmel Cultural Campus at the end of this month when they present Let's Groove Tonight: Motown and The Philly Sound. The performances will take place on October 28 at 3 and 8pm in Verizon Hall. Jim Gardner, former anchor of Action News, will host both concerts. Ticket prices begin at $41 and are available at www.kimmelculturalcampus.org

Led by conductor Herb Smith, the musicians of the No Name Pops are mostly former members of the Philly POPS. Smith, a veteran trumpet player making his debut conducting in Philadelphia, has a strong connection to these performances. He has performed with Lou Rawls, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, and The O'Jays. Furthermore, many of the musicians performing have recorded some of the original Philly International Sound albums.  

The concert will also feature three singers: Chester Gregory, who played the role of Berry Gordy in Broadway's “Motown the Musical,” and two up and coming artists, Brik.Liam, and Ashley Jayy.  

This symphonic experience presents Motown, Soul, R&B, as well as the famous hits of the Philly Sound with classic songs by artists like The Spinners, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Gamble & Huff, and The O'Jays. Some of the songs included will be “Me and Mrs. Jones” sung by Billy Paul, Gamble & Huff's “Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now”, “Hurt so Bad” recorded by Little Anthony and Diana Ross' “I'm Coming Out.”  

Matthew Koveal, Executive Director of No Name Pops, is thrilled to present this concert in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center and is appreciative of the tremendous support they have received since the orchestra launched in May 2023. “Philadelphia has clearly shown its love for this style of music through their support of The No Name Pops over the last five months. Our music embodies the spirit of the city we call home, and we're eagerly looking forward to our inaugural performance at the Kimmel Cultural Campus.” The No Name Pops also will be performing nine holiday shows in collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra/Kimmel Center in December.

Smith is widely known in both the classical and jazz worlds as an exciting performer who inspires musicians and audiences wherever he goes. Whether he is performing, conducting, teaching or composing, his expression of music draws from his multifaceted and dynamic musical experiences from around the world. A regular guest conductor with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Smith frequently conducts the Symphoria orchestra based in Syracuse, NY and currently directs the Eastman Youth Jazz Ensemble. He also guest conducts for All-State and  All-County Bands, Orchestras and Jazz Ensembles across New York State. He recently conducted and curated a Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Brass performance of Copland's “Fanfare for the Common Man” at a Black Lives Matter rally and a concert honoring Harriet Tubman.  An acclaimed trumpeter, Smith was recently voted “Best Instrumentalist” of Rochester 2022 by City Magazine, and he currently holds the third trumpet position in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the principal trumpet position in the Gateways Festival Orchestra which made their Carnegie Hall debut in April 2022.

Chester Gregory is an award-winning singer and actor. He was last seen starring in “Motown The Musical” as Berry Gordy. He was also in Broadway's “Hairspray”, “Tarzan”, “Cry-Baby” and “Sister Act”. Other credits include August Wilson's “Fences” and “Two Trains Running”. Gregory has toured nationally with “Dreamgirls”, “Sister Act” as well as his one-man show “The Eve of Jackie Wilson”. The recipient of many awards, Gregory is honored to have received the Jeff Award and a NAACP Theatre Award, and has been presented the key to the city of his hometown of Gary, Indiana and in East Chicago. He has also been chosen as an Honorary State Representative of Indiana and has received an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater Columbia College Chicago. He is currently producing several projects and recordings.

An actor and singer, Brik.Liam has released many albums including an EP “What's the Matter, Brik”, has performed with some of the industry's brightest talent, and showcased his music across the globe from London to Russia and the Republic of Congo. He has toured the United States as an opening performer for Grammy winning artist PJ Morton during the 2018 More Gumbo tour as well as the 2019 Paul Tour. Brik.Liam is committed to creating and presenting new, impactful music and visual work to match. Audiences will appreciate his talent to fuse classic soul vibes like the sound of Marvin Gaye with the urban contemporary music fans are accustomed to today.

Ashley Jayy is a highly sought-after singer, writer, and vocal arranger. Born and raised in Portland, under the influence of her musically inclined father, she was destined to sing the songs that resonate with the soul. With internationally renowned mentors like Prince who taught her the importance of using music to talk about the world, purpose and humanity through art to Jennifer Lopez's music director who believed in her great potential as an artist, Jayy's confidence grew.  As a young person she won the youth division of the 2006 McDonald's Gospel Fest in Seattle and later she competed at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York. In 2017, she released a harmonizing video with R&B singer Tank that went viral. Her popularity on social media has given Ashley Jayy the opportunity to work with legends from Tank, Monica, Tevin Campbell, PJ Morton, Focus… and more.  About The No Name Pops: Founded in May 2023, The No Name Pops is a new, versatile ensemble composed of the former musicians of the Philly Pops with a mission to deliver authentic, exceptional musical experiences in Philadelphia. Drawing from Philly's rich symphonic pops legacy, the orchestra melds tradition with an innovative approach unbound by musical genre for concert experiences that will entertain and empower the entire community.Tickets for October 28 are available at the Kimmel Cultural Campus or by calling Ticket Philadelphia at 215-893-1999.

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