Philly Pops pencils in dates for next season

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It's summer - which means, by the arts clock, that it's time to sell tickets for next season. But with its Philadelphia Orchestra Association ties in question, the Philly Pops has been unable to commit to guest artists - not to mention its own players - and announce details for 2011-12, leaders say.

But there will be a season, the Pops touts in a note to subscribers.

From an email:

"You, our wonderful patrons, have been so patient with us as we work through this chaotic time. We wanted you to know that we are hard at work preparing our NEW 2011-12 season with all of your favorites (plus a surprise or two!). As soon as all details are confirmed, you'll receive your renewal form just like before—it's just happening later this year. You'll learn of the innovative program concepts we've planned and of the exciting guest stars who will grace our stage...along with the best orchestra of its kind in the entire cosmos!"

Next season for Peter Nero and the Philly Pops won't start until the annual run of holiday concerts (seven dates in December), and then it resumes with Friday nights, Wednesday nights, Saturday and Sunday matinees between February and May. A total of 23 subscription Pops concerts in Philadelphia are projected for 2011-12, according to the tentative announcement. That's down from the 30 offered in 2010-11.

Leaders of the Pops and Philadelphia Orchestra Association continue to negotiate a deal on the terms of their separation, sources say.

Trumpets the message: "Never Fear — Peter and the POPS are still here!"

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