This 2021 Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular will be a televised, live-streamed concert to take place under the direction of Keith Lockhart from the stage of Tanglewood’s Koussevitzky Music Shed, Sunday, July 4, 8-11 p.m., broadcast live on Bloomberg TV and Radio, as well as locally on WHDH- TV Channel 7. The Boston Pops will partner with the City of Boston on a live fireworks display from the Boston Common, bringing the closing portion of the July 4 event back across the state to the city that has proudly presented this iconic, large-scale event since 1974. The Boston Common fireworks display will be carried by Bloomberg and locally in Boston on WHDH-TV Channel 7.
The July 4 event will consist of the Boston Pops/Keith Lockhart televised concert live from the Shed at Tanglewood (approx. 8-10:30 p.m.), with no fireworks planned at Tanglewood; the concert will be followed by a live fireworks display televised from the Boston Common (approx. 10:30-11 p.m.), with no concert sound or video planned for the Boston Common.
Keith Lockhart, who will direct his 26th Fourth-of-July program as Boston Pops Conductor, will lead a program featuring the extraordinary talents of headliners Jon Batiste—winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Score for the Pixar film Soul, Grammy-nominated musician, television personality, and bandleader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert—and Mavis Staples—the legendary R&B, soul, and gospel singer, civil rights activist, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and Kennedy Center honoree.
In addition, the Six-String Soldiers of the U.S. Army Field Band—the most-followed military music group in the world—and members of the United States Air Force Band’s Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the USAF and the first premier military chorus to enlist women—will be featured in small ensemble and choral selections during the evening’s performance. Among the quintessential patriotic selections to be performed are “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a salute to our armed forces medley, a patriotic sing-along, and the Boston Pops’ signature piece, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” No Boston Pops July 4 concert would be complete without a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture, which, in traditional style, with live cannons and bells, will bring the musical portion of the evening to a close. Hosts for the July 4 program will be Bloomberg’s Alix Steel, Romaine Bostick, Janet Wu, and Joe Shortsleeve.
Stay tuned to www.bostonpops.org and the Boston Pops social media platforms for further program details.
DECISION TO MOVE THE 2021 BOSTON POPS JULY 4TH SPECTACULAR TO TANGLEWOOD
After careful consideration of recent issuances from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts easing restrictions on masking, physical distancing, and capacity allowances, the Boston Pops determined that in order to best ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, it was prudent to postpone its return to the Esplanade until 2022, when there would be adequate time to plan and execute the complex event, which usually entails a ten-month planning process involving multiple government agencies and many event and concert planning organizations. Owned and operated by the Boston Pops’ parent company, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Inc., Tanglewood has the video-capability infrastructure in place to record the concert in a cost-effective way —an important consideration following a year of lost revenue in the millions of dollars due to 16 months of concert cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of us at the Boston Pops are putting our hearts and souls into planning our Fourth-of-July live concert stream for the many wonderful fans of the Boston Pops and the July 4 holiday,” Keith Lockhard said in a statement.
“We are thrilled that this special event will launch Tanglewood’s reopening and that we will have a chance to show Boston Pops fans across the country the great beauty and appeal of one of America’s most beloved summer music festivals.
Though health concerns related to the pandemic have abated over the last few weeks, after careful consideration we determined there wasn’t enough time to organize the many forces needed to safely return to the Esplanade and present what is considered one of the largest concert events in the world. We decided that it just wasn’t advisable to squeeze what is normally a ten- month planning period into a five-week window.
When we return to the Esplanade next year, we look forward to working closely with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston to bring the Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular back to the banks of the Charles River and to the extraordinary citizens of Boston and music fans worldwide,” he added.
“Although Independence Day celebrations look different this July, I am pleased that residents and thousands of others across the country will have the opportunity to enjoy this special televised program from the comfort of their own homes,” Acting Mayor Kim Janey said in a statement. “The televised show will feature a spectacular fireworks display from the iconic Boston Common and a musical performance by the renowned Boston Pops broadcast from Tanglewood. As we reopen our City, it is vital for everyone to continue to follow the public health guidance and get vaccinated.”