Press Release • April 30, 2018

Philadelphia, PA (April 26, 2018) — The Philly POPS announced today that Memorial Salute — Philadelphia’s only concert in honor of Memorial Day — returns to the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on May 26, 2018 and the public may sign-up for FREE tickets.

Now in its third year, Comcast NBCUniversal Memorial Salute is a community concert honoring the American tradition of service. In celebration of those who serve, all tickets to the concert will be provided FREE of charge. Particular blocks of seats will be provided for veterans, active military, Philadelphia police officers, and firefighters – plus local students and Boy and Girl Scouts.

“The Philly POPS is incredibly proud to host Philly’s Memorial Day concert and grateful to Comcast NBCUniversal helping us provide thousands of free tickets to the community,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO, The Philly POPS.

Led by Maestro Todd Ellison, Memorial Salute features the 65-piece POPS orchestra, Broadway star Nikki Renée Daniels, Philly-native Justin Hopkins, the Voices of the POPS, the Festival Chorus, and student choirs, in a stirring line-up of patriotic anthems, Great American Songbook classics, and showtunes, including:

“Ol’ Man River”

“Salute to the Armed Forces”


“Princess Heroine Medley”

“My Country Tis of Thee”

“Wheels of a Dream”

The event opens with the Presentation of the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Participating schools from MoreFM’s Choir Competition (Bridle Path Elementary Chorus and North Penn High School Chamber Singers) will join in song with the Festival Chorus.

Part of the POPS’s Salute Series, free community events like Memorial Salute are designed for an audience of local families gathered together to celebrate the American holidays. This concert at the Mann takes the POPS out of the concert hall and into a different neighborhood, making the concert accessible to those who live nearby.

One especially resonant feature of the show will be Philly-native Justin Hopkins’ performance of “Ol’ Man River.” The most enduring version of that song was recorded by actor, singer, and civil rights icon Paul Robeson whose West Philadelphia home (now a museum) sits just three miles away from the Mann.

The public may sign up for tickets by visiting to register and print their tickets. Gates open at 5 p.m. on the day of the show. Seating is first-come, first-served on the Great Lawn, the Terrace, and under cover in sections B and C. Attendees with a seating preference should arrive early to choose their seats.

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring the whole family, blankets for the lawn and picnic dinners.

About the Guest Conductor and Artists

Todd Ellison, conductor
Todd Ellison most recently was the Music Director for the Tony-nominated An American In Paris on Broadway, now playing in the West End, has a Roman Holiday premiere headed for Broadway, and has The Black and White Ball in prep for Broadway. His Broadway credits include Michel Legrand’s Amour, Monty Python’s Spamalot (Best Musical Tony Award), La Cage aux Folles (Best Musical Revival Tony Award), 42nd Street (Best Revival Tony Award), Elton John’s Lestat, Annie, The Wild Party, On the Town, Once Upon a Mattress (starring Sarah Jessica Parker), How To Succeed (starring Matthew Broderick), She Loves Me, Taller than a Dwarf, and A Class Act. He was the music director of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the famed Radio City Music Hall for several seasons.

Todd led the Philly POPS for its first Memorial Day concert at Longwood Gardens in 2015. He’ll return to conduct POPS on Independence on July 3 and A Philly POPS Christmas in December 2018.

Nikki Renée Daniels, vocalist
Nikki Renée Daniels is currently starring in The Book of Mormon on Broadway. She has also been seen on Broadway as Clara in the 2012 Tony Award winning revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, as Fantine in Les Miserablés, and in Nine, Aida, Little Shop of Horrors, The Look of Love, Promises, Promises, Anything Goes and Lestat. She made her New York City Opera debut as Clara in Porgy and Bess.

Justin Hopkins, vocalist
Equally comfortable in operatic, concert, pops, and musical theater repertoire, Philadelphia-native Justin Hopkins is establishing himself as one of the most sought-after and versatile artists on the scene today. Hopkins made his debut with the Philly POPS in 2016 for POPS On Independence at Independence Mall. Justin attended St. Joseph’s Prep and was a member of the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale from 1993-2002.

About the Salute Series
The Philly POPS Salute Series encourages recognition of service and commitment through an expanding set of events and activities — each transformative moments of celebration for our community. Salute performances recognize the service and sacrifice of those dedicated to a collective identity of American values and tradition. Salute Series activities continue throughout the rest of the year with concerts held on American holidays. Comcast NBCUniversal is the Presenting Sponsor of the Salute Series. These free celebrations also rely on the generous support of Major Sponsors Bank of America, Archer Law, EisnerAmper and Drs. John* (Jack) and Pina Templeton as well as grants through partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia.

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.

About the Mann
As one of the foremost outdoor music centers in the country, the Mann, a leading non-profit organization, has a historical legacy of artistic excellence as a world-class entertainment destination presenting premier artists in association with AEG Presents. Each summer season, renowned symphony orchestras, iconic rock stars and the latest touring artists in indie rock, hip hop, R&B and pop take the stage here.  The Mann is the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra and has presented critically acclaimed performers in every decade since the 1930s.  Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the Mann hosts more than 200,000 visitors annually.  Signature concert experiences are surrounded by Philadelphia’s stunning skyline and include seats beneath the Mann’s acoustically acclaimed pavilion; picnics, blankets and music under the stars on its great lawn; and dining in Crescendo, the venue’s spectacular tented restaurant.  For more information, visit