Press Release • October 29, 2015

Philadelphia, PA (October 29, 2015) – The Philly POPS will kick off its holiday concert season with a free show for 2,000 members of the military, fire and police departments, and their families, on December 4.

The second annual Miller Lite Presents I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders program features Mayor Michael Nutter, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer and Rear Adm. Thomas Lynch.

The event is a highlight of the POPS’ Salute Series: concerts scheduled around American holidays in celebration of the American tradition of service, such as POPS on Independence on July 3. The Salute Series reached 31,000 people in 2015 – the largest audience for any POPS program.

“Three years ago, when the POPS played the song I’ll be Home for Christmas, I had a vision: in the movie White Christmas, when Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye open the door and all the soldiers salute their former general,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO of the Philly POPS. “It hit me right then and there: next year, I’m giving away all the tickets to the opening night concert.”

Celebrated Conductor David Charles Abell creates a ‘winter wonderland’ in the Kimmel Center this December by leading the 65-piece POPS orchestra, guest vocalist (and Broadway veteran) Lisa Vroman, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, the POPS Festival Chorus, organist Peter Richard Conte and a USO singing troupe through a new program featuring holiday favorites like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Hallelujah.

“It’s a holiday experience you simply can’t have anywhere else,” says Abell. “I always make sure that the program has something for everyone: grand symphonic arrangements of Christmas carols, popular holiday songs, Christmas music done in swing style, Chanukah favorites, rousing Gospel numbers, and the ever-popular audience singalong.”

Setting the scene inside the Kimmel Center lobby and outside on Broad Street will be military and police vehicles, roving Christmas carolers, Santa and Mrs. Claus and a bagpipe and drum corps.

The event is made possible by generous donors and sponsors, including presenting sponsor Miller Lite, Major Sponsor NewDay USA and many more.

How to get tickets

Members of the military register for tickets through the USO. Police and Fire department personnel register through their respective public affairs offices.

The general public can purchase tickets to the nine subsequent Christmas Spectacular concerts following this event that run December 5-22.

About David Charles Abell

Conductor David Charles Abell, who attended Germantown Friends School, made his Philly POPS debut in 2013 and is thrilled to have re-established a warm connection with Philadelphia.

David is most widely known for the two Les Misérables Anniversary Concerts (10th and 25th), both of which have become PBS fund-raising perennials. Now living in London, he regularly appears on radio and television in the UK, most notably at the BBC Proms, London’s annual music festival at the Royal Albert Hall. These appearances have included the Richard Rodgers Centenary celebration (2002), a world premiere opera (2007), Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday (2010) and the War Horse Prom (2014).

David attended Yale University and studied at Conservatoire Américain in France and the Juilliard School. He made his professional conducting debut in Berlin with Bernstein’s Mass.

About Lisa Vroman

From Broadway to classics, on stage and in concert, guest artist Lisa Vroman has established herself as one of America’s most versatile voices. She starred on Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. Lisa is a frequent guest with symphonies including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Utah, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Cleveland, National, Cleveland, the BBC Concert Orchestra, as well as the Philly, Boston, Cincinnati, and New York Pops.

Her Broadway debut was in Aspects of Love and she was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in Les Misérables.  She is a graduate of the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (BM, Hon. Dr. of Music) and Carnegie-Mellon University (MFA), and is a George London Competition winner.

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. Now in its 37th season, the POPS celebrates this distinctive musical heritage through an expanding repertoire of innovative concert presentations and a robust set of educational and engagement initiatives.

The holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year for the POPS. We get in the holiday spirit in November and December with our Festival Brass playing carols at tree lightings around the Philadelphia region. Our annual I’ll Be Home for Christmas Spectacular concert kicks off the season with a free concert for military, police and fire department families. The nine concerts that follow bring more than 20,000 people to the Kimmel Center to enjoy our popular Christmas Spectacular Series.