This Year We Can All Have a Capitol Fourth!

I know I haven’t written for a while, but it’s mostly from good things. Besides being busy with work and activities, last week I spent most of the week out of town at a WONDERFUL family wedding. It was a beautiful event that went off perfectly, celebrating the love of two delightful young people who are starting their lives together. I always LOVE LOVE LOVE weddings, but this one was extra special because it was the first time I’ve seen any of my extended Cross family since March of 2020, when all social gathering came to a halt.

So while that was my first big in-person social/family gathering since the advent of COVID-19, I’m not QUITE ready to spend hours with thousands of strangers in our usual Fourth of July celebration, listening to the NC Symphony play American music and then watching fireworks at my beloved Koka Booth Amphitheater. However, I don’t need to, because technology is providing a wonderful alternative.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I came from the DC area; I actually moved to North Carolina from an apartment in the exciting downtown DC neighborhood of Dupont Circle. So for years and years, my Fourth of July celebration consisted of visiting the Folk Life festival during the day, then spending the evening listening to the National Symphony––either live by going down to the Mall or via radio or computer from the rooftop deck of my or one of my friend’s building––and then watching the DC fireworks, which are usually pretty spectacular.

This year, due to COVID precautions, DC is not holding its usual big activities. However, the National Symphony Orchestra has pre-recorded a celebrity-packed concert, and they are showing off live fireworks afterwards (weather permitting, of course). The good news for all of us who don’t live in the DC area is that is being broadcast over PBS live, as well as via the PBS Facebook page and their YouTube channel (which is where I will be watching it, since I don’t have TV or Facebook). The official website is https://to.pbs.org/3ddVIBO | #July4thPBS and the YouTube link is https://www.youtube.com/PBS. The concert begins at 8:00 PM Eastern Time on July 4, and the fireworks begin exactly at 9:09 (again, Eastern Time).

Here is the video promo for the show:

Unfortunately, the promo doesn’t mention the one I’M most looking forward to: Christopher Jackson, who was the original Benny in Broadway’s In the Heights, then the original George Washington in Broadway’s Hamilton, then Mister Softee in the movie version of In the Heights (among many other accomplishments). But they have include a diverse group of stars from pop, R&B, country, classical, and BROADWAY, so everyone should find something that appeals to them.

So if your community hasn’t yet restored its Fourth of July traditions, or you are still refraining from engaging in large groups, or you just don’t want to deal with the weather (sending blessings to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia for the brutal heat wave), here’s a terrific way to enjoy the holiday via TV or Internet.


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