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‘Boston Strong’ defines Pops Hatch Shell performance

Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, right, sings with Ellis Hall, left, and Susan Tedeschi during the finale of the Boston Pops Fourth of July Concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston, Thursday, July 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, right, sang with Ellis Hall and Susan Tedeschi during the finale of the Boston Pops Fourth of July Concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston.Michael Dwyer/AP

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There was no flyover, no megastar headliner and no celebrity host beyond Keith Lockhart. Whether due to CBS pulling its national television coverage this year (after two decades) or some other reason, last night’s Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade seemed scaled down from previous years. But by performing for an exclusively local audience and selecting a quartet of singers all with strong area connections, the Pops made the night’s theme “Boston Strong.” It was a show for Bostonians, by Bostonians.

In fact, with so many acts to spotlight, the focus rarely fell on the Pops themselves. With the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, they played just two songs, including “The Star-Spangled Banner,” before ceding the program to soul singer Ellis Hall.

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