Thursday, February 17, 2011

Psalm of Joy

Most people associate the Fourth of July with traditional patriotic songs such as “The Star Spangled Banner.”  However, many might be surprised to find that this song did not come about until the 1800s.  So how did those musically inclined people vocalize their patriotism before Francis Scott Key was able to put it into words for them?  They got by with a little help from their friends, the Moravians.

    Yes, the first Fourth of July celebration in the country was actually held in Salem, North Carolina in 1783.  Johann Friedrich Peter wrote a challenging sacred music program entitled “The Psalm of Joy” which was performed in honor of our nation’s freedom.  You can still visit the site today at Old Salem!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Common Thread

So, what do Carolina Chocolate Drops, Train, Fantasia and the Avett Brothers all have in common? Yes, many of you would say the 53rd annual Grammy Awards this past weekend....while true, that is not the only common thread among these musicians.

What ties them to each other for Greensboro is the Fun Fourth Festival!  Yep, that's right!

Train -- 2010 Grammy Winner, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Performed at the 1999 Fun Fourth Festival -- Saturday, July  3 @ 5pm. Maybe you were there --  in the Depot parking lot enjoying their music?

Fantasia -- 2010 Grammy Winner, Best Female R & B Vocal Performance. Performed at the 2003 Fun Fourth on the 97.1 Stage with the band Infinity -- Maybe you were there -- on Washington Street enjoying her vocals?

Avett Brothers -- 2011 Grammy Performer -- also a 2003 Fun Fourth Performer on the Backporch of Blandwood!  Maybe you were there -- sitting on the back lawn of Blandwood Mansion enjoying their tunes?

Carolina Chocolate Drops -- 2010 Grammy Winner for Best Traditional Folk Album. In 2008 they performed at the Fun Fourth Festival Heritage Day @ Blandwood.  Maybe you were there, sitting on the front lawn, under the shady trees listening to the Carolina Chocolate Drops?

Which 2011 Fun Fourth Festival band will be the next Grammy winner and where will you be when they are performing at the Fun Fourth Festival?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Lives, Our Fortunes, and Our Sacred Honor

The Declaration of Independence is one of the best known documents in American history.  It, along with the Constitution, defines the nature of this country and its words are what we celebrate on the Fourth of July.

One of the best known phrases in the English language is “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” which in many ways is what it means to be an American.  On the Fourth of July we celebrate our ability to live as we please.  The freedom we have to watch American Idol every week (even if we don’t admit to it), or to eat peanut butter straight out of the jar.  We can go see the new Justin Bieber movie without judgment and we live in a state where several college rivalries can exist harmoniously (for the most part).  Sometimes we forget what a privilege that is!

The last line of the Declaration of Independence reads, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”  The founding fathers were willing to give their lives for the protection of our rights, so the least we can do to thank them is really celebrate!

This July, pursue happiness and come to the Fun Fourth Festival.  Between the block party and the parade it shouldn’t be too hard to leave smiling.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

There are bands and then there are THE ROGUES

The Fun Fourth Festival is in full planning mode  -- we are talking to bands, food vendors, crafters, bands, amusement providers, volunteers, bands, city staff, vendors, and oh yeah bands!

One of the bands already booked for the 2011 Fun Fourth Festival -- The RoguesIf the 78th Fraser Pipe Band sat down with the Waterboys, the Chieftains, the Rolling Stones, and the Dave Matthews Band, and then asked some friends from a symphonic orchestra to join them at the table the resulting sound might begin to resemble the ROGUES.

Put it on your calendar -- July 4, 2011.  Its going to be hot!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations

As we begin the last month of winter, most of us are grateful that it is the shortest month of the year. Memories of the beautiful snow that fell over the holidays are replaced with dreams of sandy beaches and warm sunshine. It’s time to start thinking about trading snowballs for beach balls and fires in the fireplace for fires in the grill.

With all this summer fun, of course comes the most American of holidays, the Fourth of July. Marked by cookouts, fireworks, and parades, Independence Day is a staple of summer and certainly something to look forward to as the days seem to get colder and colder. When you are bundling up in that winter coat today, why not think to the future of how you are going to spend that happy day in July.

One of our founding fathers, John Adams, wrote about the Fourth of July, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance…with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other…”

The Fun Fourth Festival in Greensboro, NC does John Adams proud by bringing over 90,000 people together to celebrate this great day in American history with music, food, and of course, fireworks. Seems like just the thing to think about when you need a warm memory to get you through these last few weeks of winter. So next time you get a cold chill, just think about how you and your friends will be spending this July Fourth eating funnel cake and partying like it’s 1776!