Press Release • November 9, 2016

Philadelphia, PA (November 9, 2016) — On December 2, the Philly POPS opens its Christmas concert season with the Third Annual Comcast NBCUniversal I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders—the annual benefit concert at which 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 City of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments.

All 2,000 tickets are donated to service members, veterans and first responders. 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.

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 this inaugural concert in 2014, the Salute Series has grown to include concerts on Memorial Day, July 3, July 4, and Veterans Day. Over 50,000 people are expected to attend Salute Series events in 2016-17 — the largest audience of any Philly POPS concert series.

“My favorite day of the year is opening night of our Christmas show when we celebrate Christmas with 2,000 members of the military, veterans, and local police officers and firefighters,” said Frank Giordano, Philly POPS President and CEO.  “This year, we’ve added to the event by staging the First Annual Amazon I’ll Be Home for Christmas Bike Giveaway prior to the show.  We have so many wonderful partners who make this special evening a night to remember!”

Tickets will be distributed through many local organizations including: Liberty USO, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Department of Veterans Affairs, Pennsylvania National Guard, US Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, Veterans Multi Service Center, Comcast NBCUniversal, Philadelphia Police Department, and Philadelphia Fire Department.

The event starts with a patriotic program, including the Star Spangled Banner sung by a military soloist and a Color Guard, both provided this year by the U.S. Coast Guard Delaware Bay Sector. The concert features Maestro Michael Krajewski leading an all-new lineup of holiday music, featuring the 65-piece POPS orchestra, internationally acclaimed pianist and vocalist Tony DeSare, 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 and strolling Victorian Carolers.

How to get tickets
Members of the military and veterans communities register for tickets through a variety of affinity groups, including the USO. Police and Fire department personnel register through their respective public affairs offices. The general public can purchase tickets to the nine subsequent A Philly POPS Christmas concerts following this event that run December 3-18:

Comcast NBCUniversal
Comcast NBCUniversal serves as Presenting Sponsor of the 2016-17 Salute Series. In 2015, Comcast NBCUniversal committed to hiring 10,000 veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses by the end of 2017. Members of the military community work in a variety of positions across all levels of the organization, including network engineering, technology, operations, theme parks and resorts, programming, customer service, marketing, human resources, and other careers. The company fosters a culture that supports veterans and reservists within its ranks, including enhanced leave and health care policies for service members, and employee resource groups that offer veterans mentoring and professional/personal development.

First Annual Amazon I’ll Be Home for Christmas Bike Giveaway
Christmas comes early for area children: Immediately preceding the Christmas Salute concert in the Kimmel Center lobby at 7pm, Amazon, L’Oreal and the Philly POPS will present 184 children of active duty military, all serving nearby at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, with brand new bicycles and helmets. The children and their families will then be invited to attend the show in Verizon Hall. Amazon team members will assemble the bikes the day before the giveaway event at the Sporting Club at the Bellevue. Garces Events will be on hand with cookies and cocoa for the children.

Schedule of events:

6:30pm: Lobby entertainment featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus and Victorian Carolers
7pm: First Annual Amazon I’ll Be Home for Christmas Bike Giveaway, Plaza Stage, Kimmel Center Lobby
Remarks by: Philly POPS Vice President Karen Corbin, Amazon Representative, City Representative Sheila Hess. Garces Events will provide cocoa and cookies.
7:30pm: Concert attendees in uniform, with families, arrive
8pm: Program begins, Verizon Hall
On-stage: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, 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 members of the U.S. Coast Guard Delaware Bay Sector Choir
U. S. Coast Guard Delaware Bay Sector Color Guard presents the Nation’s Colors
Musical program begins
9pm: Intermission
                Plaza Stage:  Soldier’s Cross Presentation from George Turak to Frank Giordano
9:20pm: Program resumes, Verizon Hall

The event is made possible by generous donors and sponsors, including Comcast NBCUniversal, KeyBank, Macy’s 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 38th season, the official POPS orchestra of Pennsylvania serves a consistently growing audience of over 100,000 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.

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.