The Pops And The Music Pier - Perfect Together
The Ocean City Pops wasn’t always called the “Pops”. John Warrington first used the name in 1976. But in the 1920’s, even before the Music Pier opened, musical entertainment flourished in Ocean City.
The cornerstone for the Music Pier was laid in 1928 and some activities were held at that time. We have considered 1929 as the beginning of the orchestra. Through the years, the orchestra grew in stature and popularity under the guidance of many talented conductors. In 1978, Frank Ruggieri, a bassoonist who played in the orchestra since 1930, became the conductor and musical director. He made many major contributions which helped form the orchestra of today. He retired in 1986 and at that time was named Conductor Emeritus.
After Frank Ruggieri retired a committee was formed to find a successor. Eight applicants were interviewed by the committee. The committee members were Esther Weil, Ed Wismer, Dr. Joseph Ewing, Walter Fredericks with technical advice from Frank Ruggieri and Greg Fogano, President of the Atlantic City Musicians Union. The committee chose Bill Scheible. It was made official by the then Mayor of Ocean City, Roy Gillian.
Bill Scheible held the baton for over 30 years with much acclaim and popularity. His keen ability for recognizing remarkable talent has brought Todd Thomas, Richard Troxell, Barbara Dever, James Demler and Jody Kidwell to the Pier. He also presented Steve Costello and Ailyn Perez, who both sing at opera venues all over the world, at the Music Pier to great acclaim. All the while retaining old favorites such as Nancy Fox, a Music Pier Legend. Bill brought many innovative ideas to the concerts which helped make the orchestra successful. He gradually added many outstanding musicians increasing the size of the orchestra as we know it today. He conducted hundreds of concerts to the delight of his many Ocean City fans.
Today the Music Pier stands as a grand tradition emerging into the future with modern technology to enhance the enjoyment of the concerts. In the very near future there are plans for many additional improvements to the Pier including a new sound system.
The Pops and The Music Pier will be perfect together for many future years.