As a fifth generation American there is no birthday party that the present writer looks forward to more than the fourth of July. From hearing Dr. J read the Constitution on July 4, 1984, to watching Dolly Parton and shock and awe perform at a Capitol 4th on July 4, 2003, this journalist gets very excited on the 4th of July. And why not? No other American holiday requires every American to forget race, religion, politics, or gender and just celebrate being part of the greatest nation on earth like the fourth of July and nobody celebrates the day better than a Capitol 4th.
This year will be a great celebration and Frankie Valli will sing the songs that bring back memories of the Dreher High School Senior Prom in 1975. The first date with cheerleader and junior beauty queen Deborah Fitzpatrick, hello Deborah! The present writer will always remember the wonderful years at Dreher when Frankie Valli sings December 1963. Fitzpatrick was a gentle lady and a young woman of extraordinary character as we watched the Richland Mall Theater screens of the sequel to Friends in December of 1974.
To be doing anything at age 80 is a tribute to a long life and smart decisions; however, to headline the biggest 4th of July party in the nation will place Frankie Valli among the great entertainers like Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Little Richard, BB King, Dolly Parton, and Aretha Franklin who have all given District of Columbia residents and visitors an opportunity to see an outdoor concert with the greatest names in show business for free. The concert is free.
America’s national Independence Day celebration will kick off the festivities for our country’s 238th birthday with an all-star salute led by our country’s favorite host, two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars”). Broadcast live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, the event will feature performances by Frankie Valli, Patti LaBelle, Jordin Sparks, Michael McDonald, Sara Evans, Kendall Schmidt and Kelli O’Hara; with the National Symphony Orchestra under the great direction of conductor Jack Everly.
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem, legendary composer John Williams will debut a special arrangement for orchestra and chorus of the “Star Spangled Banner” with the National Symphony Orchestra, The Joint Armed Forces Chorus, the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets.
Patti LaBelle was instrumental in helping Luther Vandross in his career. He formed the first official Patti LaBelle Fan Club in her honor. Micheal McDonald began his career as the lead vocalist for the Doobie Brothers and has become a superstar in his own right. The 1979 hit, "What a Fool Believes," set the pace for what is now a 40 year career for McDonald as one of America's great recording artists.
PBS is hoping for great weather and another great concert. Examiner.com will feature updates on the concert as PBS serves the nation.