Now in its 14th year, POPS on Independence proved why it is a longtime favorite with a spectacular performance on July 3rd. The Philly POPS presented an outdoor concert in front of the historic background of Independence Hall. Drawing one of the largest audiences in memory, the concert was part of the Wawa Welcome America! Festival- the nation’s largest free 4th of July festival. The POPS provided concert goers with the opportunity to witness a stirring performance for free in front of the iconic Independence Hall. The orchestra has played a role in the City of Philadelphia’s Independence Day celebration since its inception. The concert featured a selection of stirring patriotic tunes including The Service Medley, which includes the theme songs for all branches of the military. The First City Troop, an all-volunteer Color Guard, presented the flags during the National Anthem. Broadway singers Darius De Haas and Capathia Jenkins had the audience singing and dancing as they performed tunes like Happy and Natural Woman with the accompaniment of The POPS Orchestra. LGBT service men and women were honored in this year’s POPS on Independence concert as we saluted the milestone of the 50th Anniversary of the LGBT Rights Movement with the song I Am What I Am from La Cage aux Folles.
The Philly POPS then went on the road to perform in Wildwood, NJ for the first time at the Bandshell in Fox Park for the Fourth of July. Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano, Jr., was thrilled to welcome The POPS to the shore and celebrate the holiday with a world class orchestra. The Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania Mike Stack also attended the patriotic performance. Music Director Michael Krajewski conducted the concert featuring Capathia Jenkins, the Voices of The POPS, and the 65-piece POPS orchestra. The performance also featured a tribute to John Williams that ended in a standing ovation. The Cape May Coast Guard’s nine member Honor Guard provided a stirring presentation of the colors for the National Anthem, adding to the celebration of America’s birth. Fox Park was completely packed with over 6,000 people and the event was broadcast live over the radio. One Wildwood resident commented that this Fourth of July was the best he has had in his 67 years thanks to The POPS. Fireworks on the boardwalk provided the perfect finale to a concert that “stole the hearts, minds, and imaginations of Wildwood.” We can’t wait to come back for another incredible performance "Down the Shore!"
Both of these concerts were part of the ongoing Philly POPS Salute Series, which encourages recognition of the service and sacrifice of those dedicated to a collective identity of American values and tradition. The 2015 Salute Series also includes POPS at Longwood, the Christmas in July Press Conference, and the upcoming I’ll Be Home for Christmas - A Salute to the Military and First Responders, and POPS in Philadelphia for the Veterans’ Day Parade.