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The Philly POPS Salutes Vets and First Responders With Free Christmas Concert

The Philly POPS Salutes Vets and First Responders With Free Christmas Concert

The Philly POPS will present its fifth annual Christmas concert tradition: Comcast NBCUniversal I'll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders December 7, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. At this annual benefit concert, the POPS hosts 2,000 members of the military, veterans, police and fire departments, and their families. The concert is presented in partnership with the USO, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments.

The concert is a special patriotic presentation of Philadelphia's favorite holiday show: A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season, which has ten shows throughout the month of December.

Governor Tom Wolf will serve as Honorary Chair of this event.

"I'm proud to say our Christmas Salute concert has become a beloved tradition for those who serve," said Frank Giordano, President and CEO of The Philly POPS. "With all that they do throughout the year, it is truly an honor to be able to give back to our service members with a night of Christmas merriment. Likewise, it is a privilege to be able to recognize the service and sacrifice of our first responders and their families."

The show starts with a patriotic program, including the Star-Spangled Banner sung by Sergeant First Class (Retired) Anthony G. Yates, U.S. Army, with The Philadelphia Military Academy Color Guard presenting the colors. Brigadier General (Retired) Carol Eggert, now Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs for Comcast NBCUniversal will give remarks.

The concert features POPS Music Director-Designate Todd Ellison leading an all-new lineup of holiday music, featuring the 65-piece POPS orchestra, Hamilton's Mandy Gonzalez, organist Peter Richard Conte, The Philly POPS Festival Chorus, the Philadelphia Boys Choir and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir - plus a performance by a USO Troupe and a visit from Santa.

The POPS ushers in holiday cheer before and after each concert with lobby entertainment, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Victorian Carolers, and the Atlantic City Fire Department's Sand Pipers bagpipe troupe.

During this year's show, the POPS will recognize two service members for their exceptional commitment to the community and America as a whole:

First, the POPS will honor the memory and contributions of Captain Matthew LeTourneau of the Philadelphia Fire Department. Captain LeTourneau was an 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, who died in the line of duty when part of a rowhouse collapsed during a fire that he was fighting on Jan. 6, 2018. Just two months prior, Capt. LeTourneau attended 2017's Christmas Salute concert with his family. The POPS will recognize his family along with his service and sacrifice, along with remarks from Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.

Secondly, the POPS will honor New Jersey Assemblyman and Navy SEAL, Ryan Peters. Assemblyman Peters will be the first person to receive the POPS' inaugural Salute Service Award to honor his commitment to both the State of New Jersey and to America.

The Philly POPS Salute Series recognizes those who dedicate themselves to a life of service and commitment by celebrating their service on holidays of American tradition. Since the inaugural Christmas Salute concert in 2014, the Salute Series has grown to include free community concerts on Memorial Day, July 3, July 4, and Veterans Day. Comcast NBCUniversal is the presenting sponsor of the Philly POPS Salute Series.

Tickets for this concert are not available to the public. All tickets have been distributed to military service members, veterans, and members of the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments. The general public can purchase tickets to the ten A Philly POPS Christmas concerts that run December 1-22:

Photo Credit: Bachrach Photo

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