The American Pops Orchestra has been fortunate to share a close relationship with PBS. This collaboration has led to a number of nationally-televised specials featuring Luke Frazier with APO. The orchestra, in collaboration with Nouveau Productions, has presented shows in a variety of musical styles ranging from Broadway to classic Country and everything in between.

Check out below some of the shows we’ve created! All of these broadcasts are available to watch on Passport: the PBS streaming service. Be on the lookout – there’s more #APOxPBS content coming soon!

Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas

In collaboration with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, the American Pops Orchestra presented an evening celebrating Ella’s iconic album of holiday classics. This performance starred host and vocalist Vanessa Williams with appearances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Norm Lewis, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Nova Payton, Dave Detwiler and Morgan James.

We Are Family: Songs of Hope and Unity

Filmed in front of a small, socially-distanced live audience under strict COVID-19 mitigation procedures, the program featured performances by “Crazy-Ex Girlfriend”‘s Gabrielle Ruiz (joining APO from Los Angeles); “America’s Got Talent” vocalist Rayshun LaMarr; Broadway star and recording artist Morgan James; Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes, and celebrated recording artist Nova Payton. Hosted by Emmy and Tony Award-winner Judith Light.

United in Song: Celebrating the American Dream

Our 2021 PBS New Year’s Eve show featured a wide array of artistic talents and musical genres. Filmed at historic Independence Hall and hosted by Broadway legend Chita Rivera, the show featured performances by Delbert Anderson, David Archuleta, Jencarlos Canela, Judy Collins, Deborah Cox, Drew Gehling, Amber Merritt, Midori, Sandi Patty, Cassadee Pope, Pepe Romero, Lea Salonga, Paulo Szot, and Brandee Younger. The program also featured a newly commissioned performance by The Washington Ballet, led by Artistic Director Julie Kent and choreographed by celebrated choreographer Jessica Lang.

United in Song: Celebrating the Resilience of America

“United in Song” encourages our nation to come together and celebrate our irrepressible strength as Americans. From the enormity of COVID-19 to the significant presence of social injustice, this special evening brings us together in the ever-present pursuit of our uniting as one America. As part of a national PBS broadcast for New Year’s Eve, the performance was filmed at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon. This show includes performances and appearances by Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yo-Yo Ma, Anna Deavere Smith, Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Patti LaBelle, and Juanes.

Wicked in Concert

APO presented a musical celebration of the iconic Broadway score written by legendary composer Stephen Schwartz. The show featured brand new re-imagined orchestrations created in collaboration between APO Music Director Luke Frazier and Stephen Schwartz. The show was hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, and featured performances by Mario Cantone, Gavin Creel, Ariana DeBose, Cynthia Erivo, Stephanie Hsu, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Nettles, Alex Newell, Isaac Powell, Amber Riley, Gabrielle Ruiz, and Ali Stroker.

One Voice: The Songs We Share

Broadway

Filmed at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown, “Broadway” features music that has traveled from the stage to the Billboard charts. The show features performances by Luke Hawkins (Annie Live!), Amber Iman (Hamilton), Steven Mann (Piano, An American in Paris, National Tour), Alexis Michelle (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Jessie Mueller (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Sam Simahk (Carousel), and Ray Wong (Piano, An American in Paris, National Tour).

Sacred

“Sacred” showcases music that has transcended the walls of the sanctuary. Set in Hagerstown’s Trinity Lutheran Church, enjoy hymns and anthems adapted by Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Aretha Franklin. Hear performances from Justin Guarini (American Idol), Maureen McKay (Metropolitan Opera), 16 year old organ prodigy Daniel Colaner, Broadway star Adam Hyndman (Hadestown), and Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child).

Country

We traveled to the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia to film the third episode of One Voice. The Poor House Farm Barn and Park created an authentic backdrop for traditional hoedowns and classic country chestnuts. APO was joined by Jake Blount (2020 Steve Martin Banjo Prize), Clay Elder (Company), award-winning folk dancer Nic Gareiss, Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace), and acclaimed singer-songwriter Senora May.

American Roots

Celebrating a few of the many cultures that have shaped popular music, “American Roots” features Irish and Japanese folk music, bolero, negro spiritual, and Native American music. Enjoy performances from Mauricio Martinez (On Your Feet!), Amber Merritt (Hall Johnson Spirituals Competition: 2020 First Place Winner), Jacqueline Schwab (Ken Burns Documentaries), renowned opera star Asako Tamura, and Native American Hip Hop artist Frank Waln.