Singer Chaka Khan will join the Boston Pops on July 4 as the orchestra returns to the Charles River Esplanade for the first time since 2019 for its “Fireworks Spectacular.”
Also appearing will be “The Voice” season one winner Javier Colon and Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley, the Pops announced Wednesday.
“Always the goal with the Fourth of July Spectacular is to really do a range of artists, a range of styles,” conductor Keith Lockhart said. “We have the widest-ranging audience, age wise, background wise, that we have at any point during the year.”
The guest material will be rehearsed the weekend before the show, Lockhart added, and specific song choices have yet to be made. “I would guess that if you can name your favorite three [Chaka Khan songs], we’re probably doing them,” Lockhart said of the 10-time Grammy winner. “It turned out she was available this year, and we jumped on the opportunity.”
The Pops will also be joined by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums, and the Honor Guard of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Regiment.
In addition to the guest artists, the Pops announced several tribute performances, including a rendition of the Ukrainian National Anthem and multiple pieces by Stephen Sondheim to honor the Broadway composer, who died in November.
The concert will also feature a “special moment” in honor of the late philanthropist David Mugar, who helped the Pops redefine its July Fourth celebration.
“It’s necessary and appropriate that we honor David Mugar who, along with Arthur Fiedler, founded this whole transition on the banks of the Charles in 1974,” Lockhart said. “He’s been, for me, a rock of stability and support until his passing earlier this year.”
The “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular,” which runs from 8 to 11 p.m., will be broadcast on Bloomberg TV and radio as well as on WHDH-TV Channel 7.
The upcoming concert marks the orchestra’s return to the Hatch Shell for the first Independence Day performance in three years. (Unlike past years, the July 3 rehearsal will not be open to the public.) “This concert is such an important, iconic moment and it has really become something that really pulls the city together,” Lockhart said. “It’s a thrill for all of us. We’re very excited to come back.”
More information on the 2022 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is available at bso.org.
Sam Trottenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.