A dramatically different feel to Parkway celebration for Fourth of July

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Welcome America's Jeff Guaracino announces the acts for July 4th concert (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Welcome America's Jeff Guaracino announces the acts for July 4th concert (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia is going in a decidedly different direction for the Fourth of July Concert this year.  Organizers are calling it something for everyone.

Leslie Odom Junior, the man who plays Aaron Burr in Broadway’s Hamilton will be the emcee and one of the performers on July fourth on Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway as part of the Welcome America celebration.

Jeff Guaracino, head of Welcome America, says they are trying to make it an earlier night by starting the fireworks at 10.

“It also helps the city save $40,000 in city services costs by not going into an expensive second shift and it also helps us in terms of giving people a safe fun experience because it’s only dark for an hour,” said Guaracino.

Unlike in past years, the Roots will not play the festival. Instead, the musical theme of the night will be a tribute TSOP, The Sound of Philadelphia, with the O’Jay’s , Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and the Intruders with the Urban Guerilla Orchestra.

And it’s the return of a familiar performer on the Parkway, the Philly Pops, who will be part of the concert to celebrate America’s Birthday.

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