Press Release • March 24, 2016

Philadelphia, PA (March 24, 2016) — The Philly POPS announced its summer line-up today: A new Memorial Day concert at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will honor veterans and the military and the annual free Independence Day Weekend show will entertain tens of thousands of Philadelphians and visitors.

These Salute Series activities continue into the fall with a performance at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ceremony on Veterans Day and on December 2, with the annual I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders benefit concert for military, veterans, Philadelphia police officers and fire fighters.

Memorial Day Salute
For the first time ever, the POPS and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will present Memorial Salute, a concert honoring the American tradition of service on Saturday, May 28 at 7pm during Memorial Day weekend. In celebration of all those who serve, 2,000 complimentary tickets will be given to veterans, active military, Philadelphia police officers, and firefighters – plus local students and Boy Scouts.

The United States Army, Navy and Marine Corps were established in Philadelphia by the Continental Congress over 240 years ago. Today, Pennsylvania is home to thousands of veterans. Despite this deep military history, Philadelphia currently lacks a high-profile Memorial Day event. Similar to the POPS’ annual Christmas Salute concert which kicks off the holiday season with a free concert for members of the military and first-responder communities, and the annual patriotic July 3rd concert on Independence Mall, this Memorial Salute speaks to the POPS’ commitment to serving those who serve through its Salute Series.

“It’s time that Philadelphia honored our nation’s protectors with an inspirational, large-scale musical event, as our neighbor to the south, Washington, D.C., does,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO, Philly POPS. “Join us in making Memorial Salute a Philadelphia tradition – with the Philly POPS, Allison Blackwell and Hugh Panaro, you’re in for a treat!”

Native Philadelphians and Broadway stars Allison Blackwell and Hugh Panaro will join Music Director Michael Krajewski and the 65-piece POPS orchestra as guest vocalists for an unforgettable evening. Blackwell most recently performed in the Lion King on Broadway and brought down the house with her performance of Natural Woman during the POPS’ Carole King concert series in February. Panaro played the role of the Phantom in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera over 2,000 times and became a POPS fan favorite following his performance in the popular Christmas show in 2014.

Low cost tickets will be available undercover in the pavilion or on the Great Lawn where attendees will be able to bring blankets and picnic dinners. Tickets ranging $15-$25 will help to offset the cost of hosting the veterans, military and first responders at this community-focused event.

July 3
The POPS is back on Independence Mall on Sunday, July 3 during the Wawa Welcome America festival. Music Director Michael Krajewski and the 65-piece POPS orchestra will perform a patriotic, entertaining show featuring guest artists Allison Blackwell and Justin Hopkins. Hopkins is also a Philadelphia native who began singing at the age of 8 with the Philadelphia Boys Choir. Today he is standout among his peers on the operatic stage with an extensive resume of opera roles and concert appearances throughout the country.

POPS on Independence has become a Philadelphia tradition enjoyed by more than 10,000 area residents and visitors each year. The POPS looks forward to an expanded role in this year’s Wawa Welcome America festival.

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. The Salute Series is made possible by Comcast NBCUniversal and Miller Light.

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 37th season, the official POPS orchestra of Pennsylvania serves a consistently growing audience of over 100,000 annually. Music Director Michael Krajewski and the 65-peice 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.

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 – 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 most important outdoor music centers in the country, the Mann presents premiere artists in a world-class, entertainment destination in association with AEG Live.  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, and today’s success is a nod to the venue’s storied history.  The Mann has been the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the 1930s and presented critically acclaimed performers in every decade since then.  Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the Mann hosts more than 170,000 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 famous lawn; and dining in Crescendo, the venue’s spectacular tented restaurant.  For more information, visit