Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Celebrating the Lights and Sounds of Independence Day on Rhode Island PBS

Starting at 7:30 p.m. on the 4th of July, Rhode Island PBS commemorates Independence Day with a look at America's oldest parade and then the stirring music and magnificent pyrotechnics display in Washington, D.C.

7:30 p.m. - Bristol's 4th of July: A Celebration of History and Independence

The red, white, and blue lines in the middle of Hope Street are freshly repainted and the porches and doorways of the historic homes will soon be festooned with bunting, flags, and swags of stars and stripes. It's the spirit of Bristol, Rhode Island, "America's Most Patriotic Town," and home of the longest-running Independence Day celebration in the country.

A WSBE Rhode Island PBS film crew captured the behind-the-scenes preparations for the 2007 Fourth of July celebration, and traced the origins and evolution of more than 220 years of commemorative ceremonies and traditions.

Bristol's Fourth of July: A Celebration of History and Independence uses vintage photos and archival film to take viewers back in time to witness some of the early observances, as well as discover how the patriotic exercises, the historic parade, the Miss Fourth of July pageant, and other key events and ceremonies, got started and why the tradition is still going strong more than two centuries later.

8 p.m. Capitol Fourth 2014

It's a star spangled birthday party -- live from the US Capitol. This July Fourth, America's national Independence Day celebration honors our country's 239th birthday with an all-star salute led by two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron, along with a cast of legendary performers.

Broadcast live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, this top-rated extravaganza features 20 cameras positioned around the city, ensuring viewers are front and center for the greatest display of fireworks in the nation.

In the three decades since the humble beginning of A Capitol Fourth, a parade of superstars has offered the best in American entertainment and helped set the tone for a spectacular American birthday party.

This year's line-up includes:

Frankie Valli
The original Jersey boy himself, Frankie Valli is a true American legend. His incredible career with the Four Seasons, as well as his solo success, has spawned countless hit singles.

John Williams
In a career spanning five decades, John Williams has become one of America's most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage, and he remains one of our nation's most distinguished and contributive musical voices.

Patti Labelle
"Beautiful" simply does not describe the incomparable force known to the world as Patti LaBelle. The soulful songbird's name has become synonymous with grace, style, elegance and class.

Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks is a Grammy nominated multi-platinum singer, songwriter and actress who originally garnered worldwide attention as winner of season six of American Idol, the show's highest rated season. Sparks was just 17 years old when she won the coveted title.

Michael McDonald
Two notes. That's all it takes to recognize the voice of Michael McDonald. Distinctive and soulful, it is one of the most yearningly emotive instruments of our times. To this, add formidable songwriting and keyboard skills, and you have an artist who has been a singular musical presence for four decades.

Sara Evans
Multi platinum-selling recording artist Sara Evans, one of the most compelling and authentic vocalists in country music, recently released her seventh studio album, Slow Me Down, to critical praise.

Kendall Schmidt
What began in 2008 as a passion project in a bedroom studio in Burbank, California has now become a whirlwind endeavor, with energetic and dedicated fans across the globe.

Kelli O'Hara
Kelli O'Hara recently received her fifth Tony Award nomination, along with Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics nominations, for her portrayal of Francesca in the musical adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County.

Jack Everly
Jack Everly is the principal pops conductor of the Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa.

Plus, National Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society of Washington, The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own," The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery, The Joint Armed Forces Chorus, and Military District of Washington.