Comcast NBCUniversal Memorial Salute 2017 | The Philly Pops

Comcast NBCUniversal Memorial Salute 2017

Larry Blank, Conductor

TD Pavilion at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts

5201 Parkside Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131
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27 May 2017
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Larry Blank, conductor

Tiffany Jones, vocalist

Hugh Panaro, vocalist

Christina Saffran, vocalist

The Voices of the POPS

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus

The Philly POPS presents the second annual Comcast NBCUniversal Memorial Salute at the Mann, a community concert honoring the American tradition of service on Saturday, May 27 at 7pm during Memorial Day weekend. In celebration of those who serve, all tickets to the concert will be provided free of charge. Particular blocks of tickets will be provided for veterans, active military, Philadelphia police officers, and firefighters – plus local students and Boy and Girl Scouts.

Led by Maestro Larry Blank, Memorial Salute features the 65-piece POPS orchestra, Broadway stars Christina Saffran and Philly-native Hugh Panaro, the Voices of the POPS, and Festival Chorus 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"
"Hymn To The Fallen" from Saving Private Ryan
"Defying Gravity"
"America The Beautiful"

Choirs from high schools in the POPS in Schools program will supplement the Festival Chorus, providing a 500-strong choral presentation for “Hymn To The Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan, and “One Song” by Marvin Hamlisch.   

To request your free tickets to this concert simply REGISTER on EventBrite and you will receive a ticket voucher as confirmation. Please bring this voucher with you (or have available on your mobile device) to the Mann Center day of event. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis within Sections B, C, the Terrace and the Lawn.

For groups of 20 or more should call 215.546.7900 ext. 101.

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, Visit Philly, PHLCVB, and PECO and many other private donors. 

Guest Artists
Hugh Panaro

Hugh Panaro, vocalist


Hugh Panaro is perhaps best known for having played the coveted role of the Phantom in Broadway's The Phantom of the Operaover 2,000 times, including the 25th Anniversary production. In fact, Hugh is one of the few actors to be cast by Harold Prince as both The Phantom and Raoul in the show's Broadway production and is currently starring as the titular role in the immersive Off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd.Hugh made his Broadway debut in the original production of Les Misérablesas Marius, the role he originated in the First National Company. He also created the roles of Buddy in the original Side Show (Sony cast recording); Julian Craster in Jule Styne's last musical, The Red Shoes;and the title role in the American premiere of Cameron Mackintosh's Martin Guerre. Hugh was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance in the title role of Elton John's Lestat, based on Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. He made his West End debut in the original London company of Harold Prince's Show Boat as Gaylord Ravenal, the role he previously played in the Broadway and Toronto productions.At the prestigious 5thAvenue Theater in Seattle, Hugh played George Seurat in Sam Buntrock's Tony Award-winning production of Sunday in the Park with George, and Robert in Stephen Sondheim's Company.Hugh's performance as Jean Valjean in the Walnut Street Theater's production of Les Misérables earned him the prestigious Barrymore Award, for which he was again nominated after a turn as Fagin in Oliver! In 2012,Hugh was honored with the Edwin Forrest Award for his long-term contribution to the theater. An active concert artist, Panaro has performed with numerous symphony orchestras including Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, SeattleUtah Symphonies, and the London Sinfonietta, among many others. He had the privilege of performing in the world premiere of Penderecki’s Te Deumat Carnegie Hall and was a guest soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. His recordings include Jerome Kern Treasury, the original cast recording of Side Show, Tap Your Troubles Away(Herman), The Centennial(Weil), and Life On The Wicked Stage(Kern). His first solo CD, recorded with Sony/BMG, was released in the summer of 2007. In addition, he toured throughout Europe with the legendary Barbra Streisand. A native of Philadelphia, Panaro graduated from Temple University and was awarded the Boyer College of Music Certificate of Honor.

Tiffany Jones, vocalist


Called an “A-list performer” (​Philadelphia City Paper​) and a “rising star” (​Philadelphia Daily News)​ , Philadelphia jazz-soul vocalist and performer Tiffany Jones has been lauded for the “soul and sincerity behind her voice.”

The color of her voice and the melodies of her original compositions are drenched in soul with jazz inflections, while her honest, heartfelt lyrics touch listeners with a message of love, joy, peace and healing.

Jones moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University, earning a bachelor's degree in music with a concentration in jazz vocal performance. She received a master's degree in music education from the University of the Arts. For 6 years, Jones served as a K-12 music teacher at a Charter school in SouthWest Philadelphia. She currently serves on the voice faculty of the University of the Arts.

Tiffany has performed in venues across Philadelphia, and has worked with local artists such as Dexter Wansel, Donald Robinson, Tim Warfield, and Orrin Evans. She is a featured vocalist with The Philly POPS Orchestra and The Philly POPS Big Band.

In April 2011, Jones appeared in the ​PBS​ special “Malt Shop Memories” as a background vocalist for Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and other artists at Caesar’s Casino. She performed background vocals on tour for gospel singer and musician Jeff Majors and on his album “Sacred 4 You” (2002), which reached #13 on ​Billboard​’s Top Gospel Albums chart and #67 onBillboard​’s R&B Albums chart for 2002. Her original composition, “I Come to Thee” is featured on the album “Kaleidoscope” (2007) by jazz trumpeter Sean Jones and was sung by gospel artist Kim Burrell.

In April 2016, Jones released her EP entitled ​Him.​ This record marks her second recording; her debut album, entitled “Reincarnation,” was released in 2002.

Christina Saffran

Christina Saffran, vocalist


Christina Saffran’s 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.

A true triple threat, audiences throughout the world have been thrilled by her leading performances in My Fair Lady, Showboat, South Pacific, Phantom, White Christmas, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Sunday in the Park with George, Damn Yankees, Sound of Music, Pajama Game, She Loves Me, Street Scene, Grease, Company, My One and Only, Chess, Aspects of Love, Me and My Girl, I Do I Do...the list goes on.

Her concert work includes a multitude of styles ranging from engagements as the lead chanteuse for Herbie Hancock, to soloist with numerous national symphony orchestras, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, as well opening for Don Rickles, with her own show in Las Vegas.

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.  Her solo CD entitled Temporary Insanity is available at

Christina is a Founding Board member of Retinoblastoma International (, an active member of SGI-USA, and the International Committee of Artists for Peace. She is a private vocal teacher/vocal contractor in Los Angeles and is the mother of two amazing daughters, Grace and Emma.

Larry Blank, guest conductor

Larry Blank, conductor


Larry Blank has worked extensively as a conductor, composer and orchestrator/arranger in theater, film, television, and concerts. He has received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his orchestrations of Catch Me If You Can, The Drowsy Chaperone and White Christmas. Larry also received Drama Desk nominations for A Christmas Story and Honeymoon in Vegas. Other Broadway orchestrations can be heard in the Lincoln Center production of The Nance as well as Fame Becomes Me, La Cage aux Folles, The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Tommy Tune: White Tie and Tails. He is currently orchestrating Roman Holiday (Golden Gate Theatre, San Francisco). Recent projects include Holiday Inn (Universal/Roundabout Theater), Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre, West End and Tour), Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal Bath, West End & Toronto), The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville), and Mack & Mabel (Chichester Festival Theatre and UK Tour). In the West End, Larry orchestrated City of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), White Christmas (Dominion), Singin’ in the Rain (Palace Theatre, UK tour, Japan, International tour, Russia and Australia), Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, The Drowsy Chaperone, Guys and Dolls, The Producers, The Beautiful and Damned and Mack & Mabel. His film orchestrations can be heard in The Producers and Chicago. Larry was the conductor/arranger/orchestrator for Jerry Herman’s title song for the film Barney’s Great Adventure, sung by Bernadette Peters, as well as orchestrating/arranging two songs for South Park for Marc Shaiman, music supervisor/orchestrator for Jerry Herman’s Mrs. Santa Claus with Angela Lansbury; arranger/orchestrator for the films What’s the Worst That Could Happen?, The Kid, Kiss the Girls, The American President, Forget Paris, City Slickers II: the Legend of Curly’s Gold, The Net, That’s Entertainment! III, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, Bogus, North, Speechless, I’d Do Anything, Stuart Saves His Family, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, The Jungle Book 2 and Cats Don’t Dance, composer for two episodes of the television series In the Heat of the Night, as well as music for Sweating Bullets and the Grammys. Larry has arranged and/or conducted for Barbra Streisand, Michael Feinstein (including two tours of Australia and New Zealand), 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. He has orchestrated and arranged for four Academy Awards shows including parts of the (Marc Shaiman-arranged) Billy Crystal medleys. Larry regularly conducts for BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night. Larry also orchestrates the Olivier Awards for the Society of London Theatre and conducted the Olivier Awards at the Royal Opera House in 2015 and 2016.

Voices of the POPS


The Voices of the POPS is a vocal ensemble that often accompanies the Philly POPS orchestra and adds to the rich sound of concerts.

Since its debut in 2000, The Voices of the POPS has become an integral part of the POPS, performing a wide range of music at concerts. This multi-talented group adds to the versatile orchestra by providing a new dimension to the already imaginative arrangements. The animated vocal element brings lyrics and melody to life against the rich tapestries of the orchestra's sound. 

The ensemble regularly performs with the POPS at Salute Series performances, including Memorial Salute and POPS on Independence, as well as in traditional concert hall shows.

Consisting of professional performers and led by choral director Jeff Kern, Head of the Vocal Division at the University of the Arts, The Voices strives for excellence in the performance of a broad repertoire. The ensemble is a twelve voice professional choir performing an extensive array of theatrical, operatic, and choral repertoire.

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus


The Philly POPS Festival Chorus is a 180-voice ensemble that performs with the Philly POPS under the direction of Jeff Kern, Head of the Vocal Division for University of the Arts.

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus began performing in 2002 and performs with the POPS orchestra during the annual Christmas concert series and Broadway series. The chorus has performed with many professional artists including Faith Prince, Capathia Jenkins, Ashley Brown, Lisa Howard, Lauren Kennedy, Rachel York, Alice Ripley, Ann Hampton Callaway, and The von Trapp Family Children.

The Festival Chorus is an auditioned, volunteer organization composed of singers ranging from high school students to retired professionals.

POPS in Schools

POPS in Schools, POPS in Schools


In a school system that has seen cutbacks in arts programs over the past decade, POPS in Schools provides customized programs, music training and education, performance opportunities, and access to experience professional concerts throughout Philadelphia.

Launched in 2015, POPS in Schools is an EITC-certified program that enhances music education for approximately 2,000 students in the School District of Philadelphia by embedding Philly POPS artists in schools to coach and mentor music students in three elementary and ten high schools: Delaplaine McDaniel Elementary, Isaac Sheppard, Bache-Martin, Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, Central High School, Franklin Learning Center, High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), HillFreedman World Academy, Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP), Julia R. Masterman High School, George Washington Carver Engineering and Sciences High, George Washington High School, and Northeast High School.

POPS in Schools is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Chase and Susan McDaniel, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Wells Fargo, Pam and Tim Alles, M&T Bank, PECO and others.

A Philly POPS Salute Series Performance

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