The late Del Milne (1904 - 1980) formed the Salem Pops almost by accident in 1962, when he assembled about 20 musicians to accompany a Salem Civic Chorus presentation of the music from Oklahoma.
A hotelier who always led a dance band amid other community activities and involvements, Del decided to keep the orchestra going as a classical music hobby group. However, Del liked all kinds of music - classical, jazz, Broadway, movies, marches, new and old. If it could be played, he played it. The orchestra soon evolved into the POPS.
Past Salem Pops Orchestra directors include: Del Milne 1962 – 1976; Russ Wittmer 1976 – 1978; Michael Hawkins 1978-1979; Madison Vick 1989-1992; John Radosta 1979-1989; Larry Harrington 2002 – 2012.