fireworks stage

Fireworks burst over the philharmonic stage

As bombs burst in the air — or rather, fireworks — this Independence Day, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will perform patriotic music in Memorial Park. To start the show, the Air Force Academy’s band, Wild Blue Country, will perform, followed by the Philharmonic. Solos by violinist Michael Hanson and vocalist Linda Purl will be conducted by Thomas Wilson.

“I see so many people that come up to us at our concerts,” says Wilson, “either in the park or in Pikes Peak Center, and say, ‘Oh yeah, it’s great hearing you guys in your concert hall, but the first time I heard you was in Memorial Park on July Fourth.’ It’s been a long tradition.”

The Memorial Park event, billed as the region’s largest, also will have food for sale. And it’s the only place in Colorado Springs to see a legal fireworks display, as use of pyrotechnics within city limits is illegal.

If you hunger for even more patriotism, Woodland Park’s fireworks display will be on Friday, culminating in the Colorado Springs Philharmonic performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons and bells, weather permitting. (Last year’s show had to be canceled due to rain.) The Woodland Middle School athletic field has a new sound stage this year, too.

“I would rather have the howitzers from Fort Carson than anybody else,” says Wilson.

“They’re such a great sound, and they’re just perfect for this. I’ve never heard a live performance with the cannons perfectly on time if they’re using real cannons. It’s part of the fun of it. It’s supposed to be a giant spectacle, and it doesn’t matter if it’s absolutely perfect according to what Tchaikovsky put in the score.”

The Philharmonic is celebrating its 92nd year, again providing back-to-back free concerts for residents of El Paso and Teller counties.

Kate Powell, The Gazette

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