POPS on the Parkway for Wawa Welcome America | The Philly Pops

POPS on the Parkway for Wawa Welcome America

Michael Krajewski, Conductor

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Philadelphia, PA 19130
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04 July 2016
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Allison Blackwell, vocalist

Justin Hopkins, vocalist

The Philly POPS is proud to perform in this free, patriotic celebration of America’s birthday as a part of Wawa Welcome America!
, the nation’s largest, free 4th of July festival.

A Philly POPS Salute Series performance honoring our nation's traditions, values, and commitment to service. 

Your sponsorship or donation will help to offset the cost of hosting the veterans, military and first responders at Salute Series events throughout the year.

Immediately prior to the city’s Grand Finale Fireworks show on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the full 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra will take the stage with guest artists Allison Blackwell and Justin Hopkins. The show will begin with a tribute overture to Philadelphia’s own Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff before moving into a program of pop hits, patriotic songs, Broadway favorites and more from the Great American Songbook.

Blackwell most recently performed in the Lion King on Broadway and brought down the house during the POPS’ Carole King concert. Hopkins is also a Philadelphia native who began singing at the age of 8 with the Philadelphia Boys Choir, appearing with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia as a boy chorister. Today, his schedule is packed with POPS and operatic performances both nationally and internationally.

The POPS returns to the Parkway, an enthusiastic participant in this week-long celebration of the sounds of Philadelphia.

Guest Artists

Allison Blackwell, vocalist


"But for my money it was vocalist Allison Blackwell who made the evening. In a luscious orchestration of Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me," the Pops and Blackwell created one of those great city moments when everything seems to stop. The sounds of goodness, sincerity and warmth poured forth."-Peter Dobrin, Classical Music Critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer

Raised in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, this award winning Philadelphia native has distinguished herself as a force of nature in the theatre and concert world. Her versatile voice and outgoing personality on stage make her a highly sought out performer.

Allison Blackwell made her Broadway debut in the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess alongside six-time Tony Award Winner Audra McDonald and Tony Nominees Norm Lewis and David Alan Grier. This life changing experience allowed Ms. Blackwell to record her first original cast album and perform at the 2012 Tony Awards (Winner: Best Revival). In 2013, Allison was blessed to play one of her musical “idols” Aretha Franklin, in A Night With Janis Joplin. USA Today noted, "Allison Blackwell, veers from a stunning operatic rendering of Summertime to a shivery, booming impersonation of Aretha Franklin." She subsequently joined the Broadway cast for Disney’s The Lion King after finishing her run in A Night With Janis Joplin. Allison Blackwell was last seen on Broadway playing the featured role of Violetta in Pretty Woman: The Musical. “When Edward and Vivian go to see "La Traviata," they're practically blown off the stage next to Allison Blackwell's stunning soprano.”  -Roma Torre NY1 

Allison Blackwell has performed with such orchestras as The Boston Pops, The New York Pops, The Atlanta Symphony and The Houston Symphony. With The Philly Pops, she has been seen as a guest artist in such concerts as The Carole King Songbook, Elvis: The Kings Songbook, Philly Pops Memorial Salute Concert and the  Pops at Independence Hall. 

Ms. Blackwell received her Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College and her Masters of Music from The Boston Conservatory. 

For more information about Allison Blackwell, visit her website www.allisonblackwell.com. 

Justin Hopkins


Hailed by the LA Times for his “beautifully focused bass baritone” and “commanding presence onstage,” Philadelphia-native Justin Hopkins is establishing himself as one of the most sought-after and versatile artists on the scene today. Equally comfortable in operatic, concert, pops, and musical theater repertoire, he has been featured in such concert halls and theaters as Carnegie Hall, Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie, Brussels; Symphony Hall, Boston, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, Koerner Hall, Toronto. He has been a guest soloist with the Philly POPS, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Leipzig Radio Symphony, and Grand Rapids Symphony Pops.

Hopkins made his debut with the Philly POPS in 2016 for POPS On Independence at Independence Mall.  Other pops appearances include Happy Holidays With The Boston Pops, broadcast nationally on PBS in 2016, Florida and Midwest tour of By George! The Boston Pops Plays Gershwin, The Golden Age of Broadway with the Boston Pops, Grand Rapids Symphony Holiday Pops, and Kurt Weill On Broadway with the BBC Concert Orchestra in London. Equally at home in the world of jazz and jazz standards, Hopkins most recently performed with famed singer Peggy King and the All-Star Jazz Trio in the RRazz Room at the Prince in Philadelphia.

Recent and upcoming opera and classical performances include Stephen Kumalo in Lost in the Stars and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem with Dayton Philharmonic, Fantasia On Christmas Carols at Alice Tully Hall with New York Choral Society, Elijah with The Choristers of Lansdale, Il Servo and Il Medico in Macbeth with Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Mozart’s Requiem with Dayton Philharmonic, Kurt Weill’s Die Verheissung with Leipzig Radio Symphony, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Memphis, Revered Salvation in The Cradle Will Rock with Opera Saratoga, Sparafucile/Monterone in Rigoletto with Baltimore Concert Opera, Orazio in Amleto with Opera Delaware, Gesler in Guillaume Tell with Opera Southwest.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Justin Hopkins was a member of the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale from 1993-2002. He attended St. Joseph’s Prep where he was a member of the Cape and Sword Drama Society. He has sung for numerous dignitaries and heads of state, including a command solo performance for the Dalai Lama in 2010. He took second place in the 2012 Lotte Lenya Competition.

A Philly POPS Salute Series Performance
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