The Vancouver Pops Performing Arts Society is a registered non-profit charity organization serving the musical and educational needs of youth and adults in our community. It provides outlets for musicians of all ages through class, rehearsals, coaching and performing opportunities with numerous concerts each year.
At the Vancouver Pops, our goal is to provide a fun, progressive, and challenging music-making environment for all members of the community. The VPOPS hosts ensemble programs which are designed for intermediate and advanced level participants, as well as beginners who wish to start and develop their musical skill. Ultimately, we aim to produce enriching, inspiring, and entertaining performances for our audiences.
TOM KUO, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Tom Kuo is an accomplished violinist, violist, instructor of music, and conductor from Vancouver, BC. Born to a Taiwanese family which moved to Canada when he was 3 years old, Tom graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Music. His passionate and varied interest in teaching, performing, and conducting eventually led him to found the Vancouver Orchestra Club in 2010 (which was officially renamed Vancouver Pops in 2015) as a sanctuary for the Metro's burgeoning population of musicians seeking opportunities to rehearse and perform popular and refreshing repertoires. Now in his ninth year as Artistic Director of the VPOPS, Tom continues to seek out unique and engaging music and venues for musicians young and old to perform and experience.
In his spare time, Tom has taken to carpentry, building home furnishings and simple little projects. Other active pursuits include tennis, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. Grateful for the amazing support the organization has received, Tom makes sure that new and returning members are welcomed to the VPOPS with warmth and enthusiasm.
The Vancouver Pops was first conceived back in 2008 around a small class of theory students. As an experimental project, Tom had a few of his students prepare an arrangement of a Christmas tune to be performed at the year-end recital. The song chosen for the assignment was "All I Want for Christmas is You". The success of this endeavour sparked excitement from both students and parents, who asked for more ensemble performances. Tom arranged 4 more pieces including "Close Every Door to Me", "Time to Say Goodbye", and "You Raise Me Up" for the next performance. Parents and students loved the pizzazz and flare that the ensembles added to traditional solo recitals. It was suggested that more rehearsals and a larger music selection would be welcome in leading up to the performance.
It became quickly apparent that both students and audiences enjoyed the "Popular" selections a great deal. By the start of the next school year in 2009, rehearsals were scheduled on a weekly basis. Music was chosen by the participants of the group and music was purchased through publishers rather than arranged. Instead of limiting the participants to just students, it was then opened up to anyone in the community and that's where we took on our first name, the "Vancouver Orchestra Club". Our debut performance was held on June 20, 2010, where we featured our first symphony pop concert performing titles like "Phantom of the Opera" and "Pirates of the Caribbean".
Over the years we have gone full circle, touching all genres of music, from Disney's "Aladdin", the 2011 Grammy Award Winning "Baba Yetu", Broadway's "Fiddler on the Roof" to classical masterpieces like "William Tell Overture", and Dvorak's "New World" Symphony.
The VPOPS is a special place where musical ideas can be expressed and valued, where members can enjoy a carefree environment to learn and make music. It is a place where we can put aside our cultural differences and come together for the joy of making music together. Through all the rehearsals, classes, and performances, you will meet many people and make numerous friends and heart-warming memories along the way.
Over the years, the organization has gone through a couple name changes as it found its direction and speciality in the community, from Vancouver Orchestra Club in 2008, to Vancouver International Performing Arts Society in 2012, and finally, Vancouver Pops Performing Arts Society in 2015.