The Boston Pops announced on Friday the cancellation of one of the staple events of the summer: their July Fourth Fireworks spectacular. Instead of the live concert, the Pops will broadcast "A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes." The program will feature retrospective and new performances created by the Boston Pops and guest artists.
"We're going to do this particularly to honor our first responders and those who have been claimed by COVID-19," said conductor Keith Lockhart in a phone interview on Friday. "There are going to be messages throughout the evening, appearances by community leaders, by musical artists and by me. And we are working very hard to put together a virtual connected Boston Pops performance that will be new and made just for this broadcast."
The Pops concerts on the Charles River Esplanade began as a Fourth of July tradition in 1929. In 1974, fireworks and a performance of Tchaikovsky’s "1812" Overture, as well as cannons, were added by David Mugar, working closely with beloved conductor Arthur Fiedler. The flyover was added in 1995.
The event has been postponed a handful of times, mostly due to inclement weather. In 1986 the concert ended was held on July 5 because the Pops were invited to New York to perform at the centennial rededication ceremony of the Statue of Liberty.
The special will air on Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg Radio and Boston’s WHDH-TV on Saturday, July 4, starting at 8 p.m.
"I hope they'll come away strengthened by the music they hear," Lockhart said. "I hope they'll come away entertained, of course. And I hope they really, really want to join us when they can in person, in the flesh."