POPS on The Parkway for Wawa Welcome America | The Philly Pops
POPS on The Parkway for Wawa Welcome America

POPS on The Parkway for Wawa Welcome America

Michael Krajewski, Conductor

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Philadelphia, PA 19130
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04 July 2017
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The Philly POPS BIG Band

Tony DeSare, vocalist and piano

Mandy Gonzalez, vocalist

Luis Figueroa, guest vocalist

The Philly POPS is proud to perform in this free, patriotic celebration of America's birthday as part of Wawa Welcome America, the nations largest, free 4th of July concert.

A Philly POPS Salute Series performance honoring our nation's traditions, values, and commitment to service. 

Your sponsorship or donation will help to offset the cost of hosting the veterans, military, and first responders at Salute Series events throughout the year. 

The Philly POPS BIG Band will open the Wawa Welcome America July 4 Concert with the National Anthem at 7PM. 

As the act that performed at the first July 4 concert on the Parkway in 1993, the return of the POPS helps mark the 25th anniversary of Wawa Welcome America.

Tony DeSare and Mandy Gonzalez will join The Philly POPS BIG Band as vocalists, alongside guest vocalist Luis Figueroa, in a program of patriotic standards and recent popular hits. The BIG Band will lead into an evening of pop and R&B music, culminating with headliner and superstar Mary J. Blige.

The city’s grand finale fireworks show brings the evening to a close at 9:30PM.

NBC and Telemundo will televise the event. 

The Salute Series is made possible through the generous support of Presenting Sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal, Key and Major Sponsors Eisner Amper, Bank of America, and Macy's and additional support from PARX Casino, John and Pina Templeton, Susan and Chase McDaniel, and Manning and Virginia Smith. 

Guest Artists

Tony DeSare, vocalist & piano


Tony DeSare performs with infectious joy, wry playfulness and robust musicality. Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei.

Mandy Gonzalez

Mandy Gonzalez, vocalist


Mandy Gonzalez possesses one of the most powerful and versatile contemporary voices of our time. Currently starring as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway juggernaut Hamilton, she is perhaps best known for her emotional portrayal of Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, In The Heights, a role she originally created Off-Broadway at 37 Arts, and for which she received a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble. She has starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, blowing the roof off of New York’s Gershwin Theatre each night as she belted out the signature song, “Defying Gravity,” and for which she was honored with a Broadway.com Award for Best Replacement. Other Broadway roles include Princess Amneris in the Elton John and Tim Rice musical, Aida, and Lennon, where she portrayed multiple roles including Beatles icon John Lennon. Mandy made her Broadway debut in Jim Steinman’s Dance of the Vampires, starring opposite Michael Crawford.

Mandy received an OBIE Award and overwhelming critical praise for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’, directed by Diane Paulus, and based on the music and lyrics of singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Television viewers have had the pleasure of seeing Mandy recur as Agent Susan Combs on the hit series “Quantico,” as well as guest appearances on “Doubt,” “White Collar,” “The Good Wife,” among others.

Equally at home on the big and small screen, she has appeared in “Across the Universe,” directed by Julie Taymor, “After,” starring opposite Pablo Schreiber, and “Man on a Ledge” with Sam Worthington. Mandy can be heard as the voice of Mei in Disney’s “Mulan 2,” on recordings of the original Broadway cast album of “In the Heights,” “Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live,” and “The Man Who Would Be King."

A frequent concert soloist, she has performed with symphony orchestras including Cleveland Orchestra, Philly Pops, Naples Philharmonic, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Arkansas, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Youngstown Symphonies She has also started working on her first solo album with plans for a 2017 release. Mandy can currently be seen as the recurring character Lucy Knox on the hit CBS drama, “Madam Secretary.”

Luis Figueroa, Guest Artist


Philly-native Luis Figueroa (born September 18, 1989) is a singer-songwriter and all-around entertainer.

Luis was raised in a Puerto Rican household in Philadelphia and attended Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP). He is a Berklee College of Music graduate, where he was selected out of hundreds of students to perform in Berklee’s Singers Showcase, the biggest vocal show at the college.

In his early years, Luis was featured on Star Search and made it to the finals. He performed at the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in New York alongside Johnny Albino, Joe Cuba, and Graciela. Luis was then selected to perform on the internationally recognized evening show “Sabado Gigante” hosted by Don Francisco. Next, Luis traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to take part in “Octavitas de Reyes,” featuring Tony Croatto, Josie LaTorre, Irvin Garcia, Silverio Perez, and Victoria Zanabria. His success in the Latin field compelled him to release his first solo album titled “La Diferencia”.

At age 16, he was chosen as a contestant on American Idol and made it into the top 40 finalists.

A social media dynamo, Luis has a robust online following, with over 100,000 followers more than 6,000,000 video views on YouTube.

In 2016, he signed an exclusive deal with Marc Anthony's entertainment company, Magnus Media.

Luis takes pride in being a representative of the Spanish community. His goal is to become a successful and recognized artist to spread positive messages through his music.

The Philly POPS BIG Band


The Philly POPS BIG Band performs throughout the Philadelphia region. Composed of 18-20 musicians – five saxophones, five trumpets, four trombones, a drum set, a piano, a guitar, and bass – the BIG Band plays swing, ragtime and jazz in the style of the Count Basie Orchestra and Harry James Band while expanding its repertoire into all kinds of popular music from Latin to funk and rock. The Philly POPS BIG Band members were chosen for their passion for popular music. Each is also a teaching artist, adept at instructing the next generation of musicians.

Special Thanks to Our Event Sponsor
A Philly POPS Salute Series Performance

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