Queen Latifah Will Headline The Boston Pops Fourth Of July Fireworks Spectacular

Queen Latifah performs at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans. (Donald Traill/Invision/AP)
Queen Latifah performs at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans. (Donald Traill/Invision/AP)

Queen Latifah will join the Boston Pops as the headliner for the annual Fourth of July concert on the Charles River Esplanade this year.

The lineup, announced Wednesday, also includes folk star Arlo Guthrie, who will celebrate the music of Woodstock for its 50th anniversary. Massachusetts teen Amanda Mena, who wowed audiences in "America’s Got Talent," is slated to perform a tribute to Aretha Franklin. The Texas Tenors, a trio that also competed in "America’s Got Talent," will also perform with the orchestra.

Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart said every year he tries to bring a lineup that is representative of the diverse audience that attends the concert. “We really wanted to reflect America," he said, "and I think this year, I look at, on balance, our season and I'm just really thrilled with what we have.”

The song list is still in the works, Lockhart said. “The repertoire is always in negotiation with each individual artist. Obviously, big pop artists like to sing some of the tunes that they've done that everybody knows and we certainly like them to do that, but they also like to do something that is new to them or something that's on their new album,” he said.

Either way, Lockhart said the program will come together with the guests’ requests in mind and a combination of songs that can have a patriotic theme, while not being traditional, to keep to the occasion. And don't worry, the orchestra will still be playing the traditional "1812 Overture" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."

“I am really, I'm totally jazzed about this year's lineup,” Lockhart said. “I think we've got a great concert and now we just need everybody to pray to the good weather gods.”

The concerts will be held at the Esplanade's Hatch Shell on July 3 and 4. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. on both days, with a fireworks show starting at 10:30 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

Viewing screens will be set up along Memorial Drive in Cambridge and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. For those who want to avoid the crowds, the show will be broadcast on Bloomberg’s website with a simulcast on WHDH-TV and will be available for streaming on mobile devices and on Apple TV.

Cintia Lopez Arts Fellow
Cintia Lopez was a fellow for The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team.



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