Maestro Christopher Confessore conducting the Brevard Symphony Orchestra at its annual free Fourth of July Concert. Photo by Nicholas Reynolds.
By PAM HARBAUGH
When it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra is your go-to organization.
Held at the beautiful Cocoa Riverfront Park, the BSO’s annual Fourth of July free pops concert, complete with fireworks, brings out the patriotic in everyone.
“Audience members are not just Brevard residents,” said BSO conductor and music director Christopher Confessore. “Since ours is the only Independence Day concert in the state featuring a live professional orchestra and a spectacular fireworks show, audience members routinely travel from far outside the county to attend.”
The concert begins 8 p.m. Tuesday. Or, get there by 6:30 and enjoy the “Red, Hot & Boomin’ BBQ” dinner sponsored by the BSO. Tickets to that are $75 (it’s a fundraiser) and include reserved parking (that alone is worth the price) and a seat in the VIP section for the concert.
The concert includes traditional patriotic favorites including Sousa marches, “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.” There is also an Armed Services Salute in which the orchestra plays a few song measures from each branch of the military; during that, men and women who served are invited to stand when their song plays.
That diverse setlist also includes John Williams’ “Star Wars,” Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” and Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” This year, there will also be favorite movie, Disney and Broadway songs as well as classic rock ‘n roll from The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” to Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”
“Believe me, you haven’t lived till you’ve heard the BSO play ‘Deep Purple’,” Confessore said.
The money-shot of the evening comes when the orchestra begins playing the rousing climax to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Confessore begins the music a bit before 9 p.m. in hopes that the sounds of the booming cannons synchronize with the City of Cocoa’s elaborate fireworks display over the Indian River.Of course, don’t get too confused about that “1812 Overture.” Music historians have often scratched their heads over America’s perplexing bent to perform an overture which celebrated Russia’s victory over Napoleon.
Guests generally bring their own chairs or blankets. Frequently they also bring blankets and picnic dinners where they enjoy balmy breezes sweeping over the nearby Indian River.
Parking can be found, although you may have to walk a bit if you arrive later in the evening. Another reason to get there a little earlier is that at 5 p.m. the City of Cocoa begins its food concessions. While you’re asked to leave the sparklers, alcohol, coolers, drones and non-service pets at home, it’s always smart to bring the bug spray.
As the BSO is the resident orchestra for the 2,000-seat King Center in Melbourne, this is also the symphony’s largest audience – typically it brings out up to 13,000 people.
“It’s a great time, a family celebration,” said Fran Delisle, general manager for the BSO. “It’s like the celebrations on the Fourth of July that you would experience in New York, Philadelphia or Boston. But we have it right here in Brevard County.”
For more information, contact the Brevard Symphony Orchestra at 321-242-2024 or visit BrevardSymphony.com.
This is an edited version of a story running earlier in the Melbourne Beachsider.