Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Symphony Ramps Up July 4th Show at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Symphony Ramps Up July 4th Show at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater

Article excerpt

The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater's stage is set for another red, white and blue affair as it celebrates the city's second annual July Fourth "Celebration on the River," complete with tunes from the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, playtime from PARA and a rousing finale of fireworks.

The celebration brings back the TSO for the second year in a row. The symphony's Executive Director Elizabeth McGuire said she's thrilled about making a return to the amphitheater after last year's great performance.

"We're glad it's a repeat," McGuire said. "We ultimately would like it to become part of Tuscaloosa's cultural fabric."

Last year's performance found TSO fighting the elements. With a steady drizzle all day, McGuire said she was worried people wouldn't show up because of the bad weather. But that nightmare, one that McGuire always has in the back of her mind for any concert, never had a chance to come true. The show was a near sellout by the end.

With great feedback from the crowd, the mayor and sponsors, TSO is back again and hoping to build on last year's success.

"It's a simple patriotic pops concert," she said. "It's not something you really want to make big sweeping changes to. We want it to be something fun and reliable for families."

The biggest change to the TSO's performance is the addition of former 2002 Miss America and classical

vocalist Katie Harman, who will infuse the show with a few opera pieces and Broadway music tunes. "Moon River," from "Breakfast at Tiffany's," will be a nod to the concert's Black Warrior River setting. But in keeping with the holiday, there will certainly be more standard Independence Day tunes.

"She's a former Miss America, so she definitely has patriotic music in her repertoire," McGuire said.

Instead of last year's finale of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," Harman will lead the crowd into a patriotic sing-along that will include "Yankee Doodle," "God Bless America" and more.

"It's the perfect time to bring out music that is not only patriotic but is meaningful," Harman said. "It's a great time to bring a good pops concert that people know and love."

Harman is no stranger to donning her stars and stripes, in good times or bad. …

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