Martina McBride in, Lionel Richie out for 4th of July

, Staff

Just days before the big event, Lionel Richie has withdrawn from the Boston Pops Fourth of July concert due to strained vocal chords. Saving the day and stepping in to perform alongside the Pops will be country music star Martina McBride.

“I am extremely disappointed to cancel my performance with the Boston Pops but must follow my doctor’s orders,” explained Richie in a press release. “It was such an honor being asked to celebrate the Fourth of July with this legendary orchestra and I hope to perform with them in the future.”

“One of my most favorite things in the world is to perform with a live orchestra, and to sing with the prestigious Boston Pops on Independence Day in front of thousands of people and on national television is not only an amazing opportunity but a career highlight for me,” said McBride. “I wish Mr. Richie a speedy recovery and am looking forward to what will be a memorable day for me.”

“We will miss Lionel and hope he recovers quickly and completely,” said Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music and Live Events for CBS Entertainment.  “Having a superstar like Martina step in at the last minute is a dream come true. She is one of the greatest voices of this or any generation, and she is now my hero.”

McBride, a three-time Academy of Country Music “Top Female Vocalist” and four-time Country Music Association “Female Vocalist of the Year” award winner, will perform some of her biggest hits with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart.

As previously announced, Emmy Award-winning actor and Massachusetts native Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”) will host the event. He’ll also join the Pops to perform one of his original songs, “‘Til I Come Home”, with the US Army Chorus.

Now in its 38th year, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will take place at the Hatch Shell along the Boston Esplanade on Monday, July 4. WBZ TV will broadcast the event live locally at 8 p.m. before CBS takes over for a national feed at 10 p.m. The Pops will host an open dress rehearsal on Sunday, July 3 at 8:30.

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