The Philly POPS Takes the Stage for Three Performances in the Annual Wawa Welcome America Festival

-Courtesy of The Philly POPS

The Philly POPS will celebrate Independence Day and the return of live music with three performances during the annual Wawa Welcome America Festival, including POPS on Independence at the Mann with Tony- and GRAMMY-nominated Broadway artist Josh Henry, POPS at the Celebration of Freedom, and the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert—opening for international superstars Bebe Rexha and Flo Rida.

These concerts are free of charge, but guests must pre-register for tickets. The Philly POPS Salute Series performances are presented by Comcast NBCUniversal and in partnership with Wawa Welcome America.

July 3: POPS on Independence at the Mann Center, 7 p.m.
The Philly POPS continues its 42-year tradition of performance on Independence Day in POPS on Independence at the Mann. Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell leads the POPS, along with Tony- and GRAMMY-nominated artist Josh Henry in his debut with the POPS. Josh is best known for his role as Billy Bigelow in the revival of Carousel and as Aaron Burr in the touring production of Hamilton.

The POPS orchestra will perform patriotic favorites, showtunes, standards, and popular hits, along with a glimpse of the 2021–2022 LIGHTS UP! SHOWTIME! Season.

This performance will be at the TD Pavilion at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts; the event is free, but tickets are required. More details at

July 4: POPS at the Celebration of Freedom, 10:30 a.m.
The POPS strikes up the band for a swinging patriotic performance to accompany the City’s Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, which will include a reading of the Declaration of Independence, remarks from Mayor Jim Kenney, the presentation of the Mayor’s Magis Award, the Celebrate Freedom Award, and the Wawa Foundation Hero Award.

In-person free tickets are limited, and pre-registration is required.

July 4: Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert at the Mann Center, 7 p.m.
The Philly POPS kicks off Philly’s July 4 concert celebration at the TD Pavilion at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. The POPS takes the stage for its 5th year as part of the July 4 concert, opening for international superstars Bebe Rexha and Flo Rida.

After an evening of performances, the city’s grand finale fireworks show will bring the festivities to a close.

General admission and lawn access will be available for in-person guests; tickets are free, but pre-registration is required.

For more details about the POPS Independence Day performances, visit

Comcast NBCUniversal is the Presenting Sponsor of The Philly POPS Salute Series. These free celebrations of community and tradition, which honor our shared commitment to service on holidays of American tradition, also rely on the generous support of Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, Wawa Welcome America, The City of Philadelphia, Independence Blue Cross, The Presser Foundation, Visit Philadelphia, and Aqua America.

About Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell  
David Charles Abell is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of The Philly POPS.   

Born in North Carolina, David grew up in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. At the age of fourteen, he turned his attention to conducting and went on to study with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger. He earned degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School after intensive study of viola, piano, and composition. He has worked with such distinguished artists as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Idina Menzel, Heather Headley, Bryn Terfel, Josh Groban, Matthew Morrison and Michael Feinstein. Previously, as Guest Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor of The Philly POPS, he conducted Cole Porter’s Broadway: Too Darn Hot, Lenny’s Revolution, Blockbuster Broadway, and A Philly POPS Christmas in 2013, 2014, 2015, and again for the record-setting run of A Philly POPS Christmas in 2019 and the streamed performance in 2020.   

David has appeared regularly on television, most notably conducting the 10th and 25th Anniversary concerts of Les Misérables. He has conducted five times at London’s BBC Proms, including a live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. Recordings include the musicals Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and Man of La Mancha, Something’s Gotta Give with baritone Simon Keenleyside, Forever with soprano Diana Damrau, and highlights from La Bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic.   

In the UK, David recently conducted his own critical edition of Kiss Me, Kate for Opera North. He has conducted many of the premier British orchestras, including the London Symphony, City of Birmingham, Bournemouth, and Royal Philharmonic. His work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra includes a centenary concert honoring his mentor Leonard Bernstein in 2018. A much-respected artist in London’s West End, David conducted the Olivier Awards ceremony for four years and was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s personal choice to lead the world premiere of Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre.   

David’s recent projects have included a series of Gershwin concerts at Kyiv National Theatre of Operetta in Ukraine, Carousel at the Vienna Volksoper and Sweeney Todd at the Zurich Opera House. David also conducted Barrie Kosky’s production of The Magic Flute at Opera Philadelphia, West Side Story at the Glimmerglass Festival, and Silent Night, Kevin Puts’ acclaimed opera about the World War I Christmas Truce, in Kansas City, Cincinnati and Detroit. 

About Artistic Director for Jazz Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, combining a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well-defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.     

Since the mid-1990s, Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band. Stafford, with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, performed on Diana Krall’s Grammy-nominated From this Moment On (2006). John Clayton invited Stafford to perform with the Clayton Brothers Quintet and Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Stafford is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, which was awarded a Grammy in 2009 for Best Large Ensemble, “Live at the Village Vanguard.”     

Stafford can be heard on over 130 albums. His latest recording This Side of Strayhorn has been hailed as “the first must-have album of 2011” and “genius.” Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Artistic Director for Jazz of The Philly POPS. Stafford is renowned in the jazz world as an educator, performer and leader and has received countless award nominations and accolades.    

Stafford was born in Miami and raised in Chicago, Illinois and Silver Spring, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Maryland in 1988 and a Masters of Music from Rutgers University in 1993.  

About Josh Henry, guest vocalist
Joshua Henry can currently be seen starring opposite Jason Momoa in SEE Season 1 for Apple TV. Stay tuned for Season 2! Most recently, Joshua appeared Off- Broadway in THE WRONG MAN at MCC Theatre. Prior to his critically acclaimed performance in THE WRONG MAN, Joshua starred on Broadway as the iconic ‘Billy Bigelow’ in the revival of CAROUSEL for which he received a coveted Tony and Grammy nomination. Before headlining in CAROUSEL, Joshua starred as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the cultural phenomenon, HAMILTON, in Los Angeles. Joshua has also starred on Broadway as ‘Noble Sissle’ in George C. Wolfe’s Tony-nominated musical SHUFFLE ALONG. Joshua was Tony- nominated for his star turn as ‘Flick’ in the musical VIOLET. He received Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Award nominations for his thrilling, show-stopping performance. He was previously nominated for a Tony Award for his leading role in Susan Stroman’s THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS. Other Broadway credits include leading roles in PORGY & BESS and Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT. Upcoming: Tick, Tick…Boom (Netflix/ Imagine Entertainment). 

About the Salute Series  
The Salute Series, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, is an expanding portfolio of programs performed on American holidays, which celebrates those who serve our country, its cities, and communities.  

Performances including Memorial Salute, POPS on Independence on July 3, POPS on the Parkway on July 4, and Veterans Salute showcase the magic of the orchestra to diverse and enthusiastic crowds. The annual I’ll Be Home for Christmas concert rings in the holiday season with a free concert for active military, police, and fire department families.   

Comcast NBCUniversal is the Presenting Sponsor of the Salute Series. These free celebrations also rely on the generous support of Major Sponsors Bank of America, Archer Law, BB&T/Truist, and Visit Philly, as well as grants through partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia. 

About the Mann Center for the Performing Arts
As one of the foremost outdoor music centers in the country, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, a leading non-profit organization, has a historical legacy of artistic excellence as a world-class entertainment destination presenting premier artists, now in association with Live Nation Entertainment. Each summer season, renowned symphony orchestras, iconic rock stars and the latest touring artists in indie rock, hip hop, R&B and pop take the stage here. The Mann is the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra and has presented critically acclaimed performers in every decade since the 1930s. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the Mann hosts more than 200,000 visitors annually. Signature concert experiences are surrounded by Philadelphia’s stunning skyline and include seats beneath the Mann’s acoustically acclaimed TD Pavilion; picnics, blankets and music under the stars on its Great Lawn or at the top of the hill at the Skyline Stage; and dining in Crescendo, the venue’s spectacular tented restaurant. In addition, the Mann’s Education & Community Engagement Program reaches tens of thousands of young people annually through free programming and educational initiatives as well as its virtual Mann Music Room. For more information, visit

As the official POPS orchestra of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia’s partner in civic celebration, The Philly POPS serves a consistently growing audience of over 250,000 annually. Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell and the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra keep listeners tapping their toes to an impressive repertoire of songs—from American traditional music up through to today’s chart-toppers.

In addition to Subscription Series performances at The Kimmel Center, The Philly POPS presents innovative programming with contemporary artists at the Met Philadelphia in The Philly POPS at the Met Philadelphia series. Other ensembles that make up The Philly POPS are: The Philly POPS BIG Band, which plays a rock and rhythm and blues repertoire, and The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, under the direction of Artistic Director for Jazz, Terell Stafford.

Outside the concert hall, free Salute Series performances – including Memorial Salute, July 3 POPS on Independence, July 4 POPS at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony and POPS on the Parkway, Veterans Day activities 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 Outside brings POPS music to local communities. The Philly POPS performs as a founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, as the Principal Orchestra of the Met Philadelphia, and at venues throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.