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Keith Lockhart Goes With Immigrant Theme and Women of Color for Boston Pops Fourth of July Performance

Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart says his decision to include an immigrant segment and have all guest performers be women during the annual Fourth of July concert at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade is not political.

“I’m excited that we’re celebrating that this country is an amalgamation of people who come from all over the world,” Lockhart told The Patriot Ledger. “I’m not politicizing things, but I think we need to respond positively and stand for things that make this holiday worth celebrating.”

The guest performers are:

—  Rhiannon Giddens, who is part African-American and part American Indian, and whose latest album “confronts the ways we are culturally conditioned to avoid talking about America’s history of slavery, racism, and misogyny”

—  Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, left-wing lesbians who performed at the original anti-Trump Women’s March in January 2017

—  Rachel Platten, whose “Fight Song” was the official anthem of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign

—  Actress Rita Moreno, 86, of Puerto Rico, who last year called President Donald Trump “that beast,” and who is expected to reprise her Academy Award-winning role in West Side Story (1961) during the immigration segment

The immigration segment will include a “‘This Land Is Your Land’ moment” featuring the members of the cast, Lockhart told The Patriot Ledger. Performers plan to read accounts from immigrants sailing into New York Harbor and recite Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus,” which was added to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903. It includes the famous lines “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

As to why he is emphasizing women, racial diversity, and immigration this year, Lockhart told the Patriot Ledger:

“It’s been an interesting year for people examining and reexamining attitudes toward women and diversity. I think there is a very import message there, but the fact they are female and diverse is secondary to them being great musicians. They cover a wide spectrum of musical expression and everyone will find something that appeals to them.”

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