More than 12,000 pack Kannapolis for Charlotte Symphony concert, fireworks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2014

By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS — Standing on stage, smiling wide, conductor Albert-George Schram of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra told a packed crowd in Kannapolis Village Park what many already thought.
“There’s no better way to start off your holiday,” Schram said, than to enjoy patriotic music outdoors.
“We’re celebrating America tonight!” Schram said, to the applause and cheers of an estimated 12,000 people jammed onto the lawn around the amphitheater.
And hundreds, maybe thousands more filled almost every parking space around the N.C. Research Campus to watch the fireworks display that followed the concert.
The annual Charlotte Symphony Orchestra concert in Kannapolis was the first of a three-day weekend of events in and around Rowan County in honor of Independence Day.
“It’s been a beautiful night, it’s a fantastic crowd,” said Becky Tolle, recreation and special events coordinator for Kannapolis Parks and Recreation.
Tolle said the annual free concert was especially moving because of its salute to veterans.
As is traditional, the orchestra played the theme songs of each branch of service and asked soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard service members stand.
“If this doesn’t do it for you, folks, you need to go somewhere else!” Schram told the audience, smiling, as the crowd gave the veterans a final round of applause.
Then, the conductor asked the crowd to pull out their mobile phones and look up the lyrics to “This Land is Your Land,” a song Schram said he hoped they already knew.
He then turned from the podium to conduct the crowd in singing the American classic.
Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant said he was glad for the chance to showcase Kannapolis to many from outside the area. The concert attracts many symphony fans from surrounding counties.
“I talked to a guy who was here from Illinois,” Hinnant said. “It’s amazing how much attraction we have here.”
Out in the audience, Zach Corriher, of Concord, bounced his 14-month-old son Asher on his knee.
“It’s nice. Great weather, good music,” Corriher said. He said he and his family attend the concert “about every year.”
“It’s just a great atmosphere. You’ve got fireworks, a salute to the troops,” Corriher said Packed onto blankets nearby, some 17 kids of all ages from five families sat talking and enjoying the music.
The grown-ups congregated on lawn chairs nearby — all friends from a group of home-schooling families in the area.
“Just a chance to see friends and hear great music,” said Rob Roycroft, of Davidson, who said he’s been coming to see the concert with his family for the last eight years.
Other patriotic and entertaining events are coming up during the three-day Independence Day weekend.
The Faith Fourth of July celebration continues today through July 5.
Too Much Sylvia performs tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The annual Fourth of July parade in downtown Faith will be held at 10 a.m. Friday.
In addition to rides, games and food, the finals of the Faith Idol singing competition will be held Friday at 7 p.m.
The band Wayward Reason performs at 8 p.m., with fireworks scheduled for 10:30 p.m.
Rides and games continue in Faith on Saturday, July 5, with the Southern Breeze Band performing at 7 p.m
Also on Friday, the All-American Community Celebration will be held at CMC-NorthEast Stadium in Kannapolis.
The festival runs from 6 to 10 p.m. with fireworks scheduled for 9:30 p.m.
For those who are interested in military history, Rowan Museum’s ongoing exhibit, “World War I Remembered,” also offers a chance to learn about how local people took part in the “Great War.” The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
Another opportunity to learn about military history is at the Price of Freedom Military Museum, located in China Grove, open from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Uniforms, photos and artifacts from the history of the U.S. armed forces are on display.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.