Press Release • May 24, 2017

Philadelphia, PA (May 24, 2017) — The Philly POPS will perform its annual free Independence Day Weekend concert at Independence Hall on July 3 at 7 p.m.

A highlight of the Wawa Welcome America festival, Music Director Michael Krajewski and the 65-piece orchestra will perform a patriotic, entertaining show featuring guest artists Tony DeSare – a POPS favorite – and Hamilton star Mandy Gonzalez. 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. POPS on Independence has become a Philadelphia tradition enjoyed by 15,000 area residents and visitors each year. In addition, NBC10 will televise a portion of the performance live.

“I’m grateful to the City of Philadelphia and Welcome America, Inc for featuring our orchestra in the country’s top Independence Day celebration,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO, The Philly POPS. “I’m especially excited about welcoming the talented Tony DeSare back to our stage and introducing Philadelphia to Mandy Gonzalez – who is taking a quick break from her starring role in Hamilton to sing with us!”

Highlights from the show:

“Let it Go” (from Frozen)
“Samba in Blue”
“Come Fly With Me”
“Philadelphia Freedom”
“Immigrants Anthem”
“America the Beautiful”
“Service Salute”

On July 4, the Philly POPS BIG Band will perform at the Celebration of Freedom ceremony at Independence Hall at 10 a.m. (which honors native sons Boyz II Men, and kicks off a patriotic parade from Independence Mall to Penn’s Landing) and will open the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert on Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 7 p.m., with Tony DeSare, Mandy Gonzalez, and Luis Figueroa. As the act that performed at the first July 4 concert on the Parkway in 1993, the return of the POPS helps mark the 25th anniversary of Wawa Welcome America.

The POPS’s Independence Weekend concerts are the keystone of the Salute Series – events held on major U.S. holidays that honor the American tradition of service and bring POPS performances into the community.

About the Guest Artists
Mandy Gonzalez is currently starring in Hamilton on Broadway as Angelica Schuyler. She created the role of Nina Rosario in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights and starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked. Mandy performed with the POPS in 2015’s Susan G. Komen Strength & Survival concert, where she wowed the crowd by singing “Let It Go” from Frozen in Spanish.

Tony DeSare has been a POPS fan favorite since his performance in 2015’s American Songbook: Then and Now. Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America from Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companionthe Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei.

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. Both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia partner with the POPS on Salute Series events. The Salute Series is made possible by the support of Presenting Sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal, Major Sponsors EisnerAmper and The Templeton Foundation, Key Sponsor Bank of America, PARX Casino, Key Bank, Visit Philly, PHLCVB, and PECO and many other private donors. To learn more, visit

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 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.