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Boston Pops Partners With Eaton Vance And Bloomberg For Fourth Of July Show

An earlier production of the Boston Pops Fourth of July Spectacular. (Lisa Poole/AP)
An earlier production of the Boston Pops Fourth of July Spectacular. (Lisa Poole/AP)
This article is more than 6 years old.

The future was uncertain for the Boston Pops Fourth of July Spectacular after its longtime organizer retired last year and the job of producing and finding corporate sponsors fell to the Pops. On Tuesday, the Boston Pops announced a three-year solution.

The investment company Eaton Vance has stepped up to be the new presenting sponsor for the Spectacular and media company Bloomberg will broadcast the event on TV, radio and the web.

Pops conductor Keith Lockhart was joined by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker at Symphony Hall to announce the new partnerships for the decades-old concert and fireworks display that has become the main event of the city's Independence Day festivities.

Lockhart said the changes offer the Pops greater control of programming decisions that will let the orchestra produce a more "coherent" and "inclusive" show for all ages.

Pop artist Andy Grammer, as well as folk singer Melissa Etheridge, will perform during the celebration, the Pops announced.

"It's a relief," Lockhart admitted. "The event is so signature, singular, so important that we assumed that we could find the right partnerships. That having been said, until it's actually inked, it's not an easy process. People on our staff have been working on this solidly for more than six months now to get to the point that we're at today."

The conductor added that he's thrilled about the three-year deal. "I think we may have something that goes long beyond that, but it's great to start off with some breathing room and really concentrate on making the best possible program."

The Pops and Eaton Vance did not disclose how much money is involved in the partnership, “but it’s a substantial financial commitment,” Eaton Vance chairman and CEO Tom Faust said. “We also expect there to be a substantial commitment of volunteer time on the part of Eaton Vance people and we think this can be a great opportunity to support not only financially, but in other ways.”

In terms of what Eaton Vance will get out of the partnership, Faust said it's a way to give back to the community and improve brand recognition.

"We’ve been lucky to be a great city, state and country and we want to recognize that. But it’s also a way for us to associate our brand with an event that stands for quality, that stands for celebration and that stands for honoring the values of this country,” he said.

The holiday production brings more than 500,000 people to the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade, the statement said. Approximately 4.5 million watch it at home. Starting this year, those not in attendance can hear the Pops on 1200 AM or watch the show live on Bloomberg Television or (Bloomberg founder, philanthropist and Medford native Michael Bloomberg also donated $50 million to the Museum of Science last year.)

Businessman and philanthropist David Mugar had produced the annual show for 43 years before stepping down last year. The Boston insurance company Liberty Mutual was the event's main sponsor for 11 years until 2015.

The Boston Pops announced in October that it, and Mugar's company Boston 4 Productions, would manage the production responsibilities. Now that Mugar has indeed retired, his employees will be working with the Pops.

"The more different broadcast partners or sponsors you have with different agendas, the more different directions you're pulled in, and the harder it is — at least from my point of view — to provide a coherent concert experience," Lockhart said. "One of the reasons I was so happy we took the step of taking the show back over was that the Boston Pops is the centerpiece of the show — and maybe that’s from my own subjective point of view — but I wanted to make sure that we could create a program that is reflective of that."

With reporting by WBUR's Andrea Shea.

This article was originally published on March 07, 2017.



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