Press Release • November 15, 2017

Philadelphia, PA (November 15, 2017) — On December 1, the Philly POPS will open its Christmas concert season with the Fourth Annual Comcast NBCUniversal I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders. At this annual benefit concert, the POPS hosts 2,000 members of the military, veterans, police and fire departments, and their families. The concert is presented in partnership with the USO, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments.

The concert kicks off Philadelphia’s favorite holiday show: A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season which continues through December with ten shows.

Governor Tom Wolf serves as Honorary Chair of this event.

“Our Christmas benefit concert is truly one of the most important and meaningful days of the year for the Philly POPS,” said Frank Giordano, Philly POPS President and CEO. “We’re proud to contribute toward making the holidays bright for our local heroes and their families.”

Prior to the concert, Amazon will present Fire tablets and gift cards to children of active duty military, all serving nearby at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

The show starts with a patriotic program, including the “Star-Spangled Banner” sung by an Army veteran soloist and a PA Army National Guard Color Guard. Brigadier General (Retired) Carol Eggert, now Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs for Comcast NBCUniversal will make remarks.

The concert features Maestro Michael Krajewski leading an all-new lineup of holiday music, featuring the 65-piece POPS orchestra, Philly’s own guest vocalist Justin Hopkins, organist Peter Richard Conte, the Philly POPS Festival Chorus, the Philadelphia Boys Choir and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir – plus a performance by a USO Troupe and a visit from Santa.

The POPS ushers in holiday cheer before and after each concert with lobby entertainment, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, strolling Victorian Carolers, and the Atlantic City Fire Department’s Sand Pipers  bagpipe troupe.

The Philly POPS Salute Series recognizes those who dedicate themselves to a life of service and commitment by celebrating their service on holidays of American tradition. Since the inaugural Christmas Salute concert in 2014, the Salute Series has grown to include free community concerts on Memorial Day, July 3, July 4, and Veterans Day. Comcast NBCUniversal is the presenting sponsor of the Philly POPS Salute Series.

How to get tickets
Members of the military and veterans communities register for tickets through a variety of affinity groups, including Liberty USO and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Police and Fire department personnel register through their respective public affairs offices.  The general public can purchase tickets to the ten subsequent A Philly POPS Christmas concerts following this event that run December 2-19:

Schedule of events:
6:30 p.m.: Lobby entertainment featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus and Victorian Carolers
7:15 p.m.: Concert attendees in uniform, with families, arrive
8 p.m.: Program begins, Verizon Hall
On-stage: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross (invited), Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel (invited), ranking members of each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Remarks by: Philly POPS President and CEO Frank Giordano; Brigadier General (Retired) Carol Eggert
Star Spangled Banner performed by U.S. Army veteran Tony Yates
PA Army National Guard Color Guard presents the Nation’s Colors
Musical program begins

The event is made possible by generous donors and sponsors, including Comcast NBCUniversal, Bank of America, EisnerAmper LLP, Templeton Foundation, and many more.

About The Philly POPS
The Philly POPS, the largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States, delights audiences with the inspired performance of American popular music. The POPS celebrates this distinctive musical heritage through an expanding repertoire of innovative concert presentations and a robust set of educational and engagement initiatives.

Now in its 39th season, the official POPS orchestra of Pennsylvania serves a consistently growing audience of over 150,000 annually. Music Director Michael Krajewski and the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra keeps listeners tapping their toes to an impressive repertoire of songs from American traditions of music up through today’s chart toppers. The Philly POPS BIG Band, an 18-20 piece ensemble performing a rock and rhythm and blues repertoire, premiered in 2017 to enthusiastic response at the July 4 Welcome America Concert on the Parkway.

Outside the concert hall, Salute Series performances – including POPS on Independence on July 3 and the I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders concert – celebrate the American tradition of service around important national holidays; POPS in Schools enhances music education for Philadelphia School District students; and POPS Outside brings POPS music to local communities.

The Philly POPS performs as a founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and at venues throughout the mid-Atlantic region.