‘A Capitol Fourth’: Spectacular fireworks tonight on PBS

‘A Capitol Fourth’: Spectacular fireworks tonight on PBS

Screenshot from PBS splash screen.
Screenshot from PBS "Capitol 4th" splash screen.

WASHINGTON, July 4, 2014 – Pull up a chair in front of your HD flatscreen at 8 p.m. EDT tonight to catch the National Symphony Orchestra and top entertainers along with the spectacular annual fireworks extravaganza that’s part and parcel of each year’s 4th of July celebration in the Nation’s Capital. Locally, the 90-minute program will be carried live on Washington’s WETA radio and TV (including WETA-HD if you can receive it).

The show is also beamed live to NPR stations as well as “via the American Forces Network to the nearly one million American service members, Department of Defense civilians, and their families, stationed at bases in 175 countries as well as 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea,” according to a PBS release.

This year’s Independence Day broadcast celebration honors our country’s 239th birthday with an all-star salute led by two-time Emmy Award-winning Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron, who currently hosts the long-running “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and the ABC hit program “Dancing With The Starts.”

Bergeron will be joined by a cast of legendary performers including the NSO; that original Jersey Boy, Frankie Valli; conductor and composer John Williams; the fabulous Muppets; and a parade of additional vocalists including Patti Labelle, season 6 “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, Platinum seller and country star Sara Evans, and a host of others, aided and abetted by Washington’s Choral Arts Society, the U.S. Army Band, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and the Joint Armed Forces Chorus.

They’ll all be joined in the traditional “1812 Overture” finale by the Army’s Presidential Salute Battery of canons, during which the massive annual fireworks display answers with aerial thunderclaps over Washington’s Mall.

PBS broadcasts each annual show live from West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, using 20 cameras positioned around the city, making sure local and national viewers are front and center for the greatest display of fireworks in the nation.

Local viewers should note: being there to witness the display live almost anywhere near the Mall is a special experience. But you’re virtually certain to have a better vantage point in front of your own TV, although if past is prologue, we could use a few more live pans of the fireworks this year than we sometimes get to see through the run of closing credits.

A Capitol Fourth is broadcast live on PBS and can also be heard live on NPR member stations nationwide and via the American Forces Network to the nearly one million American service members, Department of Defense civilians, and their families, stationed at bases in 175 countries as well as 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17