Bloomington’s professional orchestra, the Bloomington POPS, is coming to an end. The orchestra was founded in the early 1990s and has been struggling in the recent years. Now, the board members have voted to dissolve the group.
Bloomington POPS Conductor Chris Ludwa says he’s sad to say it, but the group’s operating model just is not sustainable long term.
“Whatever the POPS component of most orchestras is, it’s usually in existence to allow them to do the other concerts,” Ludwa said. “They’re the cash cow basically that allows you to play all year long. And yet in our case we were basically either breaking even or not on each of these concerts.”
POPS music director Robert Stoll is also one of the group’s board members. He’s been involved with the POPS since the beginning and hopes another group might take it over.
“Those of us who are left on the board would do everything we can to help them do that but it needs some restructuring,” Stoll said. “And I think that’s also been some of our problems. We needed to move with the times.”
Stoll also cites lack of volunteers, minimal funding and a dwindling audience as factors that contributed to the board’s decision.