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Lockhart Previews Boston Pops Fourth Of July Concert

BOSTON — Thursday’s July Fourth concert on the Esplanade is the 40th in the long series at the Hatch Shell. Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart joined Morning Edition to talk about what to expect at this year’s Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.

Bob Oakes: This year’s concert has, of course, added significance coming just a couple months after the Boston Marathon attack. What’s planned to acknowledge that?

“We’re going to feature on the stage with us the young MBTA officer who almost died in the pursuit of the alleged bombers.”
– Keith Lockhart

Keith Lockhart: We couldn’t ignore the events that had taken place at the last big public gathering in Boston. On the other hand, at least me personally, I’m a firm believer in needing to move forward from things like that as well.

What we’ve decided to do during the Boston Pops portion of the concert is to pay tribute to the first responders and the emergency medical personnel, the people who made what was a terrible situation much, much better than it possibly could have been. We’re going to feature on the stage with us the young MBTA officer who almost died in the pursuit of the alleged bombers. He’s going to come out and be our celebrity guest conductor during the concert, which I’m sure is going to get a great reaction from the crowd.

Because, after all, while we are in the weeks after the marathon bombing, today and tonight is all about celebration.

It is all about celebration. I’ve done 19 of these Fourth of July concerts in Boston. Each one of them has been a little bit different and each one of them in some way has reflected the mood of the country. It’s always a celebration but sometimes it’s tempered by other things that are going on.

Tell us about the musical selections tonight.

“We’ve decided to focus this whole concert inward on Boston.”
– Keith Lockhart

We’ve decided to focus this whole concert inward on Boston, to make this kind of a Boston Strong concert and to celebrate the local roots of this event. We’re featuring four performers kind of equally billed, all of whom call Boston home or receive their training, their inspiration here. They include the Grammy Award-winning blues artist Susan Tedeschi. Also the up and coming country star Ayla Brown, known to many as the daughter of [former] Sen. Scott Brown but also making quite a mark for herself in Nashville. Ellis Hall, wonderful Motwon singer who was the anointed successor to Ray Charles. As well, of course, the Boston Pops orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus just really lighting up the night.

And, of course, the 1812 at the appropriate time?

Of course, the 1812 — we wouldn’t miss it for the world. That with cannons and fireworks, also “The Stars And Stripes Forever” and some great patriotic music.

In light of all that’s happened recently, what are you anticipating from the crowd tonight? I’ll be it’ll be a big and very enthusiastic crowd.

I am anticipating exactly the same. I think a concert like this, a public gathering like this sends a message that people won’t be intimidated and that people will gather together peacefully as they always have in this situation, enjoy the rights and the freedoms that they have as Americans and celebrate even more loudly than before.

What’s your favorite part of the night?

My favorite part of the night, frankly, is when we’ve just done “Stars And Stripes Forever” and I can relax and take in the fireworks and not have to worry about going back on stage to do another piece because there’s a lot of pressure involved in doing a concert like this for a half million people, and it’s nice when it’s over.

Coming in on the Pike this morning, because I have a commute from the west, I saw cars this morning that I don’t usually see coming in on the Fourth of July from all over the eastern part of the U.S. early, early this morning — very unusual. So it’ll be a great time tonight.

That’s great. We can’t wait.

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  • Sandy Johnson Shockley

    I’m from Tallahassee and my favorite 4th of July celebration is Boston Pops.

  • Lee

    I can’t imagine the 4th without the Pops on TV. It’s not showing here either. Why?

  • Kristina Weatherford

    Can we stream this in our computers or tablets since somebody made an executive decision not to have this on TV?

  • Mary Plaisance

    Go back to A&E have this wonderful televised again! CBS was a fiasco and did not do this program justice!!! PLEASE GO BACK TO A & E. PLEASE!!!!!

  • Julianne K Fulcher

    Can’t get it in Dallas either. It has ruined our 4th not hearing them!

  • lizarose

    The Boston fireworks display along with the Boston Pops is pure class. I just finished watching Macy’s and although the fireworks were spectacular, the music was horrible…absolutely horrible…all black artists…Usher, Rhianna, Kanye West, Jimmy Hendrix, and some pathetic rapper I never even heard of, etc. Totally inappropriate for celebrating the Fourth of July which should consist for the most part of traditional patriotic songs. You can play that other junk any day of the year, God knows we’re constantly inundated with it. If not to play these wonderful songs about America on the Fourth, then when?

  • DLD

    I reside in Mississippi and truly miss the opportunity to see the Pops!

  • pam

    I don’t live in Boston anymore ( I am here in So. Cal), but my heart will always be in Boston, how disappointed I am I can’t watch the Boston Pops, from the hat shell, so sad! Hope they televise across the country, next year! God Bless Boston, and America!

  • barbara mitchell

    I am so disappointed that the Boston Pops, 4th of July celebration was not televised this year. This is the first year that our 94 year old father is out of his own home, in a care facility and couldn’t attend the 4th of July Band Concert at Mt Hood Park in Melrose. He dosen’t have a lot to look forward to or be proud of and at least to be a part of the historical celebration by watching it on TV would have meant a lot to him.
    Barbara Sarni Mitchell
    Paso Robles, CA

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