Press Release • May 20, 2016

Philadelphia, PA (May 20, 2016) — On Independence Day Weekend, the Philly POPS will perform its annual free July 3 concert on Independence Mall, at the City of Philadelphia’s July 4 Celebration of Freedom ceremony and parade on Independence Mall, and as part of the city’s July 4 concert and fireworks show on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

In addition, the POPS will kick off the holiday weekend with a show on the beach in Wildwood on July 2.

“The POPS will be everywhere in Philadelphia – and even down the shore – on Independence Day weekend,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO, Philly POPS. “We’ve experienced amazing growth in just a couple of years, thanks to our exciting concerts and guest artists – now all of Philadelphia, visitors to the city and shoregoers get to experience the magic of the POPS!”

The three evening concerts feature the 65-piece POPS orchestra, led by Music Director Michael Krajewski, guest vocalists Allison Blackwell and Justin Hopkins, plus the Voices of the POPS ensemble. 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. 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. Adding to the rich sound of the concert will be the Voices of the POPS, the ensemble of professional vocalists which regularly performs at POPS shows.

These four Independence Weekend concerts are the keystone of the POPS’ Salute Series – events held on major U.S. holidays that honor the American tradition of service and bring POPS performances into the community. The Salute Series is supported by The City of Philadelphia, Comcast NBCUniversal and The John Templeton Foundation.

July 2

For the second year in a row, the POPS kicks off Independence Day weekend with a performance in Wildwood, New Jersey. As part of Wildwood’s Celebrate America Weekend, the POPS will delight shoregoers with a full concert right on the beach. Music Director Michael Krajewski and the 65-piece POPS orchestra have a fun-filled, patriotic show planned featuring guest artists Allison Blackwell and Justin Hopkins along with the Voices of the POPS. A portion of each ticket sold goes to support Operation First Response, The Michael Strange Foundation and the Wildwood American Legion.

July 3

The POPS is back on Independence Mall on Sunday, July 3 at 8pm 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, with the Voices of the POPS ensemble. POPS on Independence has become a Philadelphia tradition enjoyed by 20,000 area residents and visitors each year.

July 4

Morning: The same POPS brass percussion ensemble, conducted by Music Director Michael Krajewski, that performed at Pope Francis’ speech at Independence Hall last year returns to play Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man during the city’s new Celebration of Freedom ceremony and parade on Independence Mall at 10am. Notable guests include Mayor Jim Kenney and Leslie Odom Jr., the East Oak Lane native who earned fame for his role as Aaron Burr in the eleven-time Tony-winning 2016 Best Musical Hamilton on Broadway and in the 2013 musical television series Smash. Odom attended Masterman and High School for Creative and Performing Arts. He sang solos in the Canaan Baptist Church choir in Germantown as a child.

A patriotic parade, kicked off by the POPS ensemble and routing from Independence Mall to Penn’s Landing, follows the presentation at 11am. NBC will televise this event.

Wawa Welcome America! July 4 Concert: Following performances by Leslie Odum Jr., Yazz the Greatest, Brotherly Love and a salute to Philadelphia’s own Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (featuring the O’Jay’s, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and The Intruders), the full 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra will take the stage at 8:30pm. Allison Blackwell, Justin Hopkins and the Voices of the POPS return to join the POPS as vocalists. The POPS show will begin with a Gamble and Huff overture before moving into a program of pop hits, Broadway favorites and more from the Great American Songbook. The city’s grand finale Fireworks show brings the evening to a close.

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 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. 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, POPS in Philadelphia on July 4 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.