Pope Francis pictured during private audience at VaticanPeople attending the address by Pope Francis at Independence Hall won’t have to sit idly on the grassy mall for hours before he arrives. A diverse musical bill featuring the Philly Pops Festival Brass ensemble will entertain an expected 30,000 people on Saturday, Sept. 26.

(Order free tickets for the event, while they last, here.)

The renowned Philadelphia group will perform American composer Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” as Pope Francis takes to the stage at 4:45 p.m.

Hours before, eight groups representing “the rich cultural fabric of the Philadelphia region” will perform musical and dance selections highlighting the immigrant heritage and cultural diversity of the city, said Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families.


Copland himself was the son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania.

(Listen to a version by the New York Philharmonic for what his 1942 composition may sound like at Independence Hall, and a version of what it will not sound like.)

The program will begin at 12:30 p.m. and include the following:

El Mariachi Flores is a mariachi band in the Philadelphia region with roots in Mexico City, Mexico. The sextet features vihuela and guitarron, and performs various musical styles from bolero to son jaliscense.

Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble preserves, presents and builds upon the dance and music of Africa and the African diaspora. Part of the Pennsylvania Performing Artists on Tour (PennPAT), Kùlú Mèlé tours regionally and nationally, and has performed in the Virgin Islands and Cuba.

Mystic Warriors celebrates Andean music and extends the cultural legacy of the Incan empire. The group features traditional flutes and panpipes while also integrating more contemporary instruments.   In performances, audiences often cite its global appeal and elements of Latin music, jazz and even mainstream styles.

Pablo Batista and the Mambo Syndicate this year won the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Award. Philadelphia native percussionist Pablo Batista has contributed to three Grammy-award winning albums during his 31 year career. He has worked with jazz legend Grover Washington Jr., Jeffrey Osborne, Diane Reeves, Teddy Pendergrass and Alicia Keys. His 11-piece band will perform rhythmic, upbeat salsa music.

Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, founded by Andres Amarilla and director Meredith Klein, will perform the energetic dance music of Pope Francis’ favorite dance style. Establishing a permanent studio in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood in October 2009, the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School is helping to build a robust Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor in which the tango plays a special role.

The Polish American Cultural Center will recognize the Polish heritage of Philadelphia, especially in the Port Richmond neighborhood, when a group of 20 students performs traditional Polish dances. The students, ages 10 to 16, attend St. Adalbert’s Polish Language School in Port Richmond.

In advance of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Philadelphia in October 2015, the Tibetan Association of Philadelphia will participate in the Independence Hall program to highlight the organization’s commitment to love, compassion and kindness. Performing authentic Tibetan dances, the association will represent its important and universal mission of promoting the principle of nonviolence through its culture, tradition and language.

Representing the thriving Vietnamese population across the region, Rowan University’s acclaimed Department of Theatre and Dance will perform a traditional Vietnamese Fan Dance, also known as vũ phiến. This intricately choreographed dance, featuring vibrantly colored fans, is a hallmark of Vietnamese cultural and religious celebrations.