Started in 1994 as an offshoot to the Garden State Pops
Orchestra, the Garden State Pops Youth Orchestra provides
students with symphonic literature that is normally not
performed by a major symphony orchestra. The repertoire
includes movie scores, broadway scores, and popular music
in a symphonic setting.
The orchestra is an ensemble of talented
students from the South Jersey area. Many of the members
study with musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra and
New York Philharmonic. They also study with musicians
who perform in Broadway touring companies, Philadelphia
and New York recording studios, and house orchestras in
the showrooms of Atlantic City. Our executive committee
members are a highly dedicated group of talented individuals.
Mr. Gregory Safko is the conductor emeritus and an accomplished
pianist. Mr. Vince Gentless and Harry Parker, Jr are our
Mr. Gentless has been with the Pops since its inception
in 1994. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a
Masters Degree in Music Education. He has been a teacher
in the Gloucester Township Public Schools system since
1977, teaching Instrumental Music to 6th, 7th and 8th
grade students. Along with the Pops, he is Music Director
for Mainstage Center Of The Arts, and he is very active
conducting musical productions in the South Jersey area.
Harry Parker, Jr. has been playing music for 32 years.
A player of multiple instruments, he performs for several
South Jersey theater groups and bands, such as the Bonsal
Blues Military Band of Woodbury, NJ. He has studied piano,
music theory and arranging /orchestration privately with
South Jersey musicians Joe Holt, Don Glanden and the late
Jerry Vigue. Mr. Parker enjoys working with the youth
orchestra and watching the young, nervous musicians mature
into confident adult musicians.