Bringing music to our nation’s birthplace, The Philly POPS presents an open-air concert entitled Pops on Independence in front of Independence Hall on Friday, July 3, 2015, at 8 p.m.. It will be conducted by Philly POPS Music Director Michael Krajewski, featuring Broadway stars Capathia Jenkins and Darius De Haas with the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra. The concert is part of the Wawa Welcome America! Festival — the nation’s largest, free 4th of July festival — and will take place on the lawn at 5th and Chestnut Streets. Visitors are invited to bring their lawn chairs and blankets.
As part of The Philly POPS Salute Series, POPS on Independence will celebrate the holiday while honoring those who have served with a unique POPS performance set against the historic backdrop of Independence Hall. The Philly POPS honors veterans, active military, and first responders with special recognition and with the presentation of the colors at each Salute concert. During the concert, there will be a selection of stirring patriotic tunes including God Bless the USA, Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, Stars and Stripes Forever, and The Service Medley, which includes the theme songs for all branches of the military.
“POPS! On Independence has been a longtime favorite for attendees of the Wawa Welcome America! Festival, and The Philly POPS! has always been a great partner to the City of Philadelphia,” said Desiree Peterkin-Bell, City Representative and Executive Director of the Wawa Welcome America! Festival. “We’re excited to once again provide residents and visitors with the opportunity to hear one of Philly’s greatest treasures for free in front of the iconic Independence Hall.”
This will be the first appearance at Independence Hall by Maestro Michael Krajewski. He said recently, “I’ve been conducting 4th of July programs for many years now, but this is extra special to have this opportunity to conduct not only The Philly POPS, but to do it right there where our 4th of July celebration was created. It’s really a thrill for me, and we will put on the most entertaining, patriotic and moving concert I can present.”
He described the program, “We’re going to have POPS songs that everyone knows and hopefully will join with us by singing, even dancing. We’ll perform Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Happy, disco music like I Will Survive and YMCA. We’ll include some Broadway tunes like George M. Cohan’s I’m a Yankee Doddle Dandy, You’re a Grand Old Flag, and Over There.” Totally taken by presenting this concert in Independence Mall, he added, “It will be so much fun to play Sousa’s Liberty Bell March with the Bell in sight.”
Guest stars Capathia Jenkins and Darius de Haas are popular with Philly POPS audiences. Jenkins has wowed crowds in the past, including at last year’s Philly POPS Wawa Welcome America! concert. No stranger to Broadway, she starred as Medda in the hit Disney production of Newsies, and has performed in The Civil War; The Look of Love; Caroline, Or Change; and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. On Off-Broadway, she was in the 2000 revival of Godspell, and also Love, Loss, and What I Wore, as well as (mis)Understanding Mammy – The Hattie McDaniel Story, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Jenkins is an active concert artist, having appeared with orchestras around the world, including The Philly POPS, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony (with Marvin Hamlisch), National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and several others.
Darius de Haas’ performances range from the Broadway stage to recordings to concert venues throughout the world. He made his Broadway debut in Kiss of the Spider Woman, followed by Lincoln Center’s revival of Carousel, the original cast of Rent, and many more. His Off-Broadway, regional, touring, and premiere credits include his Obie-winning leading performance in the Pulitzer-nominated Running Man. His singular abilities and range in popular music, jazz, and musical theater have established him as a performer in a variety of settings, as well as a guest with several orchestras, including the National Symphony, The Cincinnati Pops, The Philly POPS, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Luckman Jazz Orchestra. Other notable performances include the concerts Too Hot to Handel at Carnegie Hall (conducted by Marin Alsop with The Baltimore Symphony), and Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert of Music at Disney Concert Hall.