Jersey Shore Pops appoints new assistant music director

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John Drechen has been named assistant music director for The Jersey Shore Pops.
 Submitted/ John Drechen has been named assistant music director for The Jersey Shore Pops.

LOWER TOWNSHIP – Linda Gentille and the Jersey Shore Pops have appointed John Drechen as assistant music director for the orchestra.

Drechen has been with the orchestra since its inception in 2009. He is currently the band director at Lower Cape May Regional High School, a position he has held since 1990. He is responsible for multiple ensembles, including the symphonic band, jazz band, percussion ensemble, marching parade band, the pep band, the pit orchestra for musicals, and the summer community concert band.

“We are so happy to have such a talented musician and conductor take a more important role in the orchestra,” said Dr. Nick Holland, president of the orchestra association. Holland runs Shore Veterinarians in Upper Township. “Because our music director and conductor Linda Gentille has a full performance schedule around the world, we felt that Mr. Drechen would be a wonderful addition to help with the enormous amount of work involved with the musical preparation for each concert. He has the skill and experience in addition to the respect of all the orchestra members to handle this job.”

Drechen’s instrumental ensembles have been awarded superior performance ratings in festivals, hold two consecutive titles at that Atlantic Coast Tournament of Bands Concert Band Champions, and recently won the Gatorade/Philadelphia 76er’s Battle of the Bands.

Since 1994, he has been the pit conductor for musicals at Lower Cape May Regional High School, conducting for 12 musicals including “Funny Girl,” “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “Sweet Charity,” and others. Drechen’s performance experience includes past membership in the Bridgeton Symphony (currently the Bay Atlantic Symphony), the Haddonfield Symphony, freelance work in both Philadelphia and New York in theater pits for musicals as well as on stage for orchestral work. He has also performed as a soloist for regional concert bands and orchestras.

Additionally, Drechen is a founding member, alternate conductor, and solo cornet for the Congress Street Brass Band of Cape May.

“His experience with so many different orchestras and bands, plus his musical talent was the reason he was chosen,” Gentille said. “If I am delayed for any reason on my concert travel schedule, (John) will take over as conductor for the orchestra. This is a great relief to know that someone so talented will be there if for any reason my flights home are delayed.”

Drechen will begin his new duties with the 2013 upcoming Summer Concert Series, which includes eight concerts with a focus on international guest stars. The series will open at the Middle Township Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on June 29 with “The Irish Tenor.”

Tickets range from $25 to $40. Discounted season tickets range from $75 to $220. The program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The funds were administered by the Cape May County Culture and Heritage Commission.

For more information or to make reservations, call 800-838-3006 or the PAC at 609-463-1924.

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