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BOSTON 4 PRODUCTIONS, WBZ-TV, AND BOSTON POPS ANNOUNCE PROGRAM AND BROADCAST PLANS FOR THE 42nd ANNUAL BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR

THE BOSTON POPS AND KEITH LOCKHART, CELEBRATING HIS 20TH ANNIVERSARY LEADING THE FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR, TO BE JOINED BY MICHAEL CAVANAUGH, MELINDA DOOLITTLE, SONS OF SERENDIP, THE BOSTON CRUSADERS, MICHELLE BROOKS THOMPSON, AND THE USO SHOW TROUPE

HOSTED BY WBZ-TV’s LISA HUGHES & DAVID WADE THE 2015 BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR IS SPONSORED BY LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE

LIVE WEBCAST OF THE BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR WILL BE AVAILABLE TO A NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ONLINE AUDIENCE STARTING AT 8 P.M. AT WWW.BOSTONPOPSJULY4TH.ORG AND WWW.CBSBOSTON.COM

BOSTON, MA, JUNE 25, 2015 - Boston 4 Productions (B4), CBS Boston’s WBZ-TV and the Boston Pops today announced program and broadcast details for the 42nd annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, featuring the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of Keith Lockhart, who is celebrating his 20th anniversary as conductor of both the Pops and the annual July 4th concert on the Charles River Esplanade. 

This year’s celebration marks the 13th year that WBZ-TV has carried the program. This year marks the 42nd year that B4 has produced the event starring The Boston Pops and featuring the fireworks display broadcast live commercial-free by Liberty Mutual Insurance, sponsor of The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will be televised exclusively on CBS Boston’s WBZ-TV from 8p.m.-11p.m. This year’s program will be hosted by WBZ-TV News anchors Lisa Hughes and David Wade and will feature members of WBZ-TV News: WBZ-TV evening anchors Liam Martin and Paula Ebben, Chief Meteorologist Eric Fisher, and Sports Director Steve Burton.  It will also air locally on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM hosted by Jordan Rich and WBZ's morning news anchor Joe Mathieu beginning at 7p.m.  WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will also stream the entire event live on CBSBoston.com.  Additionally, the audio of the broadcast can be heard live on the FM dial on 99.5 WCRB, WGBH's listener-supported classical radio station beginning at 8p.m. with Ron Della Chiesa and Laura Carlo.

This year marks Keith Lockhart’s 20th anniversary season with the Boston Pops and is the second longest-tenured conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. "There are few concerts that I’ve conducted that come close to the thrill of leading the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular for the greater Boston community and visitors hailing from far and wide, all of whom gather together on the Esplanade to celebrate one of our nation’s most important holidays,” said Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart.  “Though this will be my 20th Fireworks Spectacular, it remains absolutely inspiring to see and hear the crowd’s terrific response to our great Pops traditions—the 1812 Overture, the Stars and Stripes, and the annual Patriotic sing-along, as well as to the many extraordinarily talented guest artists who grace the Esplanade stage each year—this year including Michael Cavanaugh, Melinda Doolittle, Sons of Serendip, the Boston Crusaders, Michelle Brooks-Thompson, and the USO Show Troupe." 

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is an annual, free outdoor Fourth of July concert at the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade and is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of America's leading insurers, offering auto, home and life insurance for individuals and families, as well as a variety of insurance products and services for businesses.

The final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the spectacular fireworks display, will be presented commercial-free by Liberty Mutual Insurance.

“We are happy to once again partner with WBZ-TV for the broadcast of The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular and provide viewers a chance to celebrate at home with us on the Esplanade! This is a treasured event for the City of Boston and we hope the tradition can continue,” said Executive Producer David G. Mugar. 

“WBZ-TV is thrilled to once again be the exclusive broadcaster of the 42nd annual July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular for the 13th consecutive year,” said Mark Lund, President and General Manager of WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV. “WBZ is home to many of the most iconic events in the market, and we are excited to bring this annual patriotic celebration to our loyal viewers.  This year’s broadcast will also be streamed live on cbsboston.com.”

In keeping with the rich American tradition and heritage, the 2015 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will be overflowing with patriotism and pride. The family-owned and operated Fireworks by Grucci, known as "America's First Family of Fireworks," are honored to produce this year’s performance. The Grucci’s, now in their 6th generation, have transformed the night skies to the delight of millions across the globe since 1850.  Phil Grucci, President/Creative Director and Designer of this year’s performance states, “It is our great honor to return to Boston to collaborate with Mr. Mugar and his team to once again display from one of the nation’s Independence Day icons, the Esplanade, Hatch Shell and Charles River of Boston. My father James, first performed in Boston on the 4th of July in 1976 for our Nation’s Bicentennial Celebration.  Many of our family members are performing throughout this great country to help all Americans celebrate our independence. I am honored to personally be in Boston with our family and a team of our finest pyrotechnicians.”

This year’s Spectacular will keep alive several of the Boston holiday traditions including the Pops’ now classic Independence Day rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” which features real cannons, the live ringing of area church bells and fireworks.  Also “The Stars & Stripes Forever,” which includes the ceremonial American flag drop and confetti shot. This year’s event will also include a flyover from the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts National Guard during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Spectacular will be capped off by a magnificent fireworks array that fills the skies above Boston with a stunning exhibition of color and breathtaking pageantry.

In addition, this year’s show will include an interactive component. The onsite audience and viewers at home will be able vote via text message on what they want the Boston Pops to play during the concert.

Boston 4 Productions thanks the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation, Governor Charlie Baker, and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Carol Sanchez for their support.

In addition to Executive Producer David G. Mugar who produces The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular broadcast and live event, Michael Mathis of IMG Media and Sheryl Bourisk for WBZ- TV will produce the telecast seen on WBZ-TV Boston.

Rich MacDonald and Pamela Picard serve as Event Producer and Broadcast Supervising Producer respectively.

Michael Cavanaugh is the New Voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook. A charismatic performer, musician and actor, made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway Musical “Movin’ Out.” He was handpicked by Billy Joel to star in the title role and evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man. Michael appeared in the show for three years and over 1,200 performances, receiving accolade after accolade, which culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations. Michael began playing at age seven, when his parents bought their first piano. In January of 1999, Michael received an offer to play Las Vegas at the famed “New York, New York Hotel and Casino.” It was there that Billy Joel spotted Michael and joined him on stage.  At the end of 2005, Michael began touring in his own right, creating a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook.  In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD titled “In Color." In June, 2010, Michael debuted his second symphony show in the “Generations of Rock” series entitled “Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John and More” and then debuted his third symphony show “Singers and Songwriters: The Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor” in 2012.  He continues to tour all three symphony productions.

Melinda Doolittle became a household name on season six of American Idol. Tone deaf as a child, Melinda’s choir teacher would plead with her not to sing, but just silently move her mouth. Undaunted, her love of singing drove her to enter a talent show in the seventh grade where she stunned the audience with her miraculously spot on vocals and beautiful voice. She never looked back. Melinda went on to graduate with a music degree from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She carved out her own niche in the Nashville music scene, singing background for musical legends such as Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, and Aaron Neville, before finishing third on the sixth season of American Idol in 2007. Her debut album, “Coming Back to You” (2009), garnered rave reviews from critics, including The New York Times, which hailed Melinda as one of the most ‘phenomenally gifted’ singers in years. Recorded with the highest caliber musicians from the musical epicenters of Nashville and New York City, “Coming Back to You” soars as a soul-baring tour de force with Melinda transforming lively soul, jazz, pop and R&B stylings into a definitive collection of songs that urge the listener to come back again and again. In 2013, Melinda released her equally soul-stirring sophomore album “You’re The Reason.” People Magazine stating, “Her voice is a slinky purr then a mighty growl that will keep you coming back for more.” Since her time on Idol, Melinda has wowed audiences everywhere from the White House to the Musicians Hall of Fame, from the Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall. She has gone on to share the stage with some of the very artists for whom she sang background as well as music luminaries such as Peter Cetera, Cyndi Lauper, and the renowned Boston Pops Orchestra. For more information visit www.melindadoolittle.com.

The Sons of Serendip is a musical group of four friends, who through a series of serendipitous events, came together in graduate school at Boston University. Micah Christian, a former teacher from Randolph, MA, is the lead vocalist of the group; Cordaro Rodriguez, a former attorney from Charlotte, NC, is the pianist and guitarist; Kendall Ramseur, a performer, cello instructor and former grocery clerk from Charlotte, NC, is the cellist and vocalist; and Mason Morton, formerly a teacher from Atlanta, GA, is the harpist for the quartet. They have each been playing their instruments since childhood, but recently, they came together to begin what they hope will be a long beautiful journey of creating music that touches people’s hearts. In 2014 the Sons of Serendip were finalists on America’s Got Talent. Their debut album was just released earlier this year and hit the billboard charts in 12 different categories including: Heatseekers - Northeast region at #1, Heatseekers - Mountain region at #2, Internet Album at #14, Independent Album at #20, and Top Current Album. Look out for their new single "Firework" as well as their Christmas album, which will be released this November. For more information visit: www.sonsofserendip.com/#music.

The Boston Crusaders celebrate their 75th Anniversary this year. Founded in 1940, its the third-oldest junior drum and bugle corps in the nation and is proud to be a founding member of Drum Corps International. The Boston Crusaders are comprised of 150 young women and men ages 15-22.  Brass players, percussionists and color guard members travel over 10,000 miles each summer, performing in more than 40 competitions and exhibitions before a combined audience of over 300,000 fans. For more information on the Boston Crusaders please visit: www.bostoncrusaders.org.

Gospel recording artist Michelle Brooks-Thompson was born in Boston, MA. Michelle, a musical prodigy, started singing at an early age in the choir at her grandfather’s church and later in a trio group with her mother and aunt. She attended Mount Holyoke College and while there she founded the first Five Colleges Gospel Choir and formed the colleges own series of Gospel Explosion concerts. In 2006, she earned a B.A. in music with a concentration in Vocal Performance and piano with a minor in Religion. She was accepted into Boston's Berklee College of Music for a Performance Diploma program to further her music studies, but she declined in order to independently pursue her professional music career. Since a teenager her vocal abilities have often been compared to that of the late great Whitney Houston. Her voice is leveled with some of the greatest and legendary gospel artists. Over the years she has sang backup for various gospel recording artists and opened shows for national contemporary Christian & gospel recording artists. She has performed the National Anthem at collegiate and professional sporting events including Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox and at Gillette Stadium for the NFL New England Patriots 2014 AFC Game. In 2012, Michelle was a finalist on Season 3 of NBC's "The Voice.” Currently, she is finalizing her first gospel EP entitled "My Life's Testimony" featuring her already released single "He Will Do It”.  Her single "When I Think” is now available to stream via Soundcloud. For more information visit  http://michellebrooksthompsonmusic.com.

USO Show Troupe is part of an entertainment tradition that goes back more than 70years to its beginnings in the muddy camp shows of the South Pacific. Today, the pride and passion that fueled that early music lives on through the USO Show Troupe. With over 350 live annual performances, the Troupe entertains approximately 600,000 troops and family members around the world. The USO Show Troupe is comprised of 56 professional performers possessing extensive Broadway and off-Broadway credits, hailing from shows such as “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of The Opera,” “Honeymoon in Vegas,” “West Side Story,” “A Chorus Line,” “Pippin,” “Sister Act” and “Spiderman:Turn Off The Dark” to name a few. In addition to their patriotic performances the USO Show Troupe has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, FOX and Friends and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve with Ryan Seacrest. They have also performed with Katy Perry, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, The Band Perry, Toby Keith and Blake Shelton. Performances are produced in collaboration with award-winning writers, arrangers, and choreographers, and costumes by Broadway costume designers and internationally recognized fashion and costume designers. The group’s broad repertoire includes patriotic and big band favorites, music of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, disco, Motown, country, Broadway, and current Top 40 hits.  https://www.facebook.com/USOShowTroupe

About Liberty Mutual Insurance

Liberty Mutual Insurance helps people preserve and protect what they earn, build, own and cherish.  Keeping this promise means we are there when our policyholders throughout the world need us most.  In business since 1912, and headquartered in Boston, Mass., today Liberty Mutual is a diversified insurer with operations in 30 countries and economies around the world.  The company is the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2013 direct premium written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.   Liberty Mutual is ranked 78th on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2014 revenue.  As of December 31, 2014, the company had $124.3 billion in consolidated assets, $104.0 billion in consolidated liabilities, and $39.6 billion in annual consolidated revenue.  Liberty employs more than 50,000 people in approximately 900 offices throughout the world, and we offer a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobile, homeowners, accident & health, commercial automobile, general liability, property, surety, workers compensation, group disability, group life, specialty lines, reinsurance, individual life and annuity products. You can learn more by visiting www.libertymutualinsurance.com.

About Boston 4 Productions

Boston 4 Productions’ Fourth of July event was founded in 1974 by then Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler and Boston businessman David G. Mugar. While Fiedler had been conducting Esplanade concerts since 1929, the idea of adding fireworks, cannons and bells sparked new life into the well-known musical event. Now marking its 42nd year, the event attracts over 500,000 people to Boston’s Charles River Esplanade and is once again produced and coordinated by Boston 4 Productions, the production arm of the non- profit organization Boston 4 Celebrations Inc. Visit the event website at www.july4th.org. Find us on Facebook at Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular follow us on Twitter @bostonjuly4th.

About CBS Boston

Boston’s WBZ-TV and sister-station myTV38 (WSBK-TV) are part of CBS Television Stations, a division of CBS Corporation.  For more on WBZ-TV and CBS Boston Local Media go to www.cbsboston.com, like us on Facebook at CBS Boston and follow us on Twitter @CBSBoston. WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM is a CBS Radio station.  Follow us on Twitter @wbznewsradio and on Facebook at WBZ NewsRadio.

CONTACTS:

Jessica Cremin, Associate Producer - Boston 4 Productions                                                      

617-314-6765 / jcremin@mugar.com                                    

Kerri Landry - CBS Boston

617-787-7083 / klandry@cbs.com

Bernadette Horgan and David McCadden

Boston Pops  617-638-9285 / dmccadden@bso.org