Press Release • April 26, 2017

Philadelphia, PA (April 26, 2017) — The Philly POPS announced today that Memorial Salute — Philadelphia’s only concert in honor of Memorial Day — returns to the Mann Center on May 27, 2017 and the public may sign-up for FREE tickets.

Now in its second year, ComcastNBCUniversal Presents The Philly POPS Memorial Salute at the Mann is a community concert honoring the American tradition of service. Last year, free tickets were provided to veterans, active military, Philadelphia police officers and firefighters, local students, and Boy and Girl Scouts. This year, ALL tickets are free (with special blocks of seats held for the above service-oriented groups).

“The Philly POPS recognizes those who serve our nation and our community throughout the year, which made presenting Philly’s first Memorial Day concert last year so special to us,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO, The Philly POPS. “And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, we’ve made this second year free for everyone to attend!”

Led by Maestro Larry Blank, Memorial Salute features the 65-peice POPS orchestra, Broadway stars Christina Saffran and (Philly-native) Hugh Panaro, Philly’s own “rising star” jazz-soul vocalist Tiffany Jones, the Voices of the POPS, the Festival Chorus, and School District of Philadelphia student choirs, in a stirring line-up of patriotic anthems, Great American Songbook classics, and legendary showtunes, including:

“Someone to Watch Over Me”
“Salute to the Armed Forces”
“Bring Him Home”
“Defying Gravity””
“America The Beautiful”
“Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Student choirs will join the Festival Chorus for the National Anthem, “Hymn To The Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan, and “One Song” by Marvin Hamlisch.

Part of the POPS’s Salute Series, free community events like Memorial Salute are designed to attract a local audience of families gathered together to celebrate the American tradition of service. This concert at the Mann Center takes the POPS out of the concert hall and into a different neighborhood, making the concert accessible to those who live nearby. Memorial Salute is particularly tied into the Philadelphia community, since it features the volunteer Festival Chorus and members of student choirs throughout the region.

The public may sign up for tickets by visiting to register and then pick up tickets at the Mann Center box office which opens at 5 p.m. on the day of the show. Seating is first-come, first-served on the Great Lawn, the Terrace, and under cover in sections B and C. Attendees with a seating preference should arrive early to request seats under cover or on the lawn.

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring the whole family, blankets for the lawn and picnic dinners.

About the Guest Artists and Conductor
Larry Blank, guest conductor, has worked extensively as a conductor, composer and orchestrator/arranger in theater, film, television, and concerts. He has received multiple Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his orchestrations. Larry’s film orchestrations can be heard in The Producers and Chicago, among many more films. He has arranged and/or conducted for Barbra Streisand, Michael Feinstein, Marilyn Horne, Michael Crawford, Christine Andreas, Joe Williams, Yanni, Marvin Hamlisch, Bernadette Peters, Steve Lawrence, Vikki Carr, Pete Fountain, Elaine Stritch, Lorna Luft, Elaine Paige, Jason Alexander, Martin Short, Georgia Brown and many others. Larry has orchestrated and arranged for four Academy Awards shows, including parts of the Billy Crystal medleys.

Hugh Panaro, guest vocalist, played the Phantom in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera over 2,000 times. He made his Broadway debut in the original production of Les Misérables as Marius. Philadelphians remember his performance as Jean Valjean in the Walnut Street Theatre’s Les Mis in 2008, which earned him the prestigious Barrymore Award. Born in Philadelphia’s East Oak Lane neighborhood, Hugh graduated from La Salle College High School and Temple University.

Christina Saffran, guest vocalist, is a true triple threat whose Broadway career is extensive, having starred as Kathy Seldon in Singin’ in the Rain (cast recording), Maggie in A Chorus Line, Shoo Shoo in Sophisticated Ladies, Rosa Bud and Edwin Drood in Drood, and Zaneeta in The Music Man. She has provided animated voices for Disney’s Aladdin, Mulan, Magic Flute, 102 Dalmatians, A Bug’s Life, Armageddon, Pocahontas II, Hunchback II, and Lady and the Tramp II, and is heard on Enchanted, Cinderella, Galaxy Quest, Polar Express, Christmas with the Kranks, The Lorax and The Santa Clause II.

Guest vocalist Tiffany Jones, a Philadelphia jazz-soul vocalist, has been called an “A-list performer” and a “rising star.” She has performed in venues across Philadelphia, and has worked with local artists such as Dexter Wansel, Donald Robinson, Tim Warfield, and Orrin Evans. Her debut album, Reincarnation, was released in 2002 and her EP, Him, was released in April 2016. Jones currently serves on the voice faculty of the University of the Arts.

Two vocal ensembles, led by Jeff Kern, chorus master and head of the vocal division of University of the Arts, add to the rich sound of the concert:

  • The Voices of the POPS is an ensemble of professional vocalists which regularly performs at POPS shows. The performers possess an extensive array of theatrical, operatic and choral experience.
  • The Festival Chorus is a 180-voice ensemble that began performing in 2002 and performs with the POPS orchestra regularly. The Festival Chorus is an auditioned, volunteer organization composed of singers ranging from high school students to retired professionals.

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 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 and 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.