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Symphony celebrates America Wednesday in Kannapolis

KANNAPOLIS — The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra returns to Kannapolis on Wednesday for its annual patriotic show — a free concert that organizers expect to draw more than 8,000 people to Village Park.
The symphony’s “Celebrate America!” show begins at 8:15 p.m. at the Village Park amphitheater.
Albert-George Schram returned to conduct the symphony’s show, which features patriotic music, a salute to the U.S. armed forces and a variety of other selections.
The pre-show begins at 7 p.m. with jazz by the Nita B Trio.
And the night concludes with fireworks over downtown Kannapolis at about 9:30 p.m.
Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Director Gary Mills said the annual patriotic show has become a tradition for many.
Every year but one since 2001, the Charlotte Symphony has played an outdoor concert at Village Park. No show was held in 2003 when performers were on strike.
Attendance has topped 10,000 several times in recent years.
Mills said it’s hard to tell how many will come out for Wednesday’s show. “It depends on the weather, obviously,” Mills said. “If the weather’s good, we expect every bit of 8,000 or 9,000.”
Forecasters are calling for mostly sunny skies with highs in the low 90s Wednesday, with a small chance of a late-afternoon storm.
The free concert offers one of only a few chances to see the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra without buying a ticket.
And that means it’s a good idea to arrive early.
Parking near Village Park will be at a premium, Mills said.
A very limited amount of handicap parking is available in the paved lot by the Village Park building off West C Street, Mills said.
Becky Tolle, recreation and special events coordinator, said shuttle buses will run continuously starting at 5 p.m.
Tolle said concertgoers can park in lots at the Cabarrus Health Alliance and behind the Southern Select Credit Union off Watson Crick Drive.
Tolle said those who are walking to the concert should use the pedestrian tunnel under Loop Road to access the park, rather than trying to cross the four-lane road.
The shuttle buses will run throughout the concert until the crowd has dispersed, Tolle said.
Those who park on neighborhood streets near Village Park should carefully obey traffic signs, Mills said. On some streets, parking is only permitted on one side of the street.
For those who want to “tailgate” in the park before the show, picnics and coolers are allowed, but no grilling is permitted, Tolle said.
Glass bottles, alcohol and smoking are also prohibited in the seating areas.
Beer and wine will be sold in a separate “beer garden” on site.
Tolle said people are welcome to come claim their seats in the park as early as they want. Some arrive as early as 4 p.m. to stake out their spots, she said.
Mills said the evening’s fireworks show will be the largest of Kannapolis’ concert series, with more than 1,600 shells in all — about half of them fired during the 38-second grand finale, he said.
The fireworks, the venue and the music are the reasons Mills said attendance at the annual Kannapolis show tops the Charlotte Symphony’s crowds at SouthPark Mall in Charlotte.
“We have the largest crowd that the symphony plays to in the summertime,” Mills said.
“I think more and more people are looking for that free family entertainment, and it’s very inexpensive to come to our show,” Tolle said.
The Charlotte Symphony has started charging for admission to its shows at Symphony Park at SouthPark, making the Kannapolis show one of only a few chances to see the orchestra perform for free.
Tolle said that Schram himself, as the conductor, is a crowd favorite.
“He’s got a great personality, a great sense of humor and we really like him,” Tolle said.
For more information about the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s “Celebrate America” show, call 704-920-4343 or go to cityofkannapolis.com.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

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