Democracy in action in song list for Freedom Celebration's fireworks

Democracy in action in song list for Freedom Celebration's fireworks

CHAMPAIGN — "R.O.C.K. in the USA" needs to be on the list. It's the opener this year.

Ray Charles' "America The Beautiful" is a classic. Throw it on the list.

Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger"? Sure.

What would the fireworks show during the Champaign County Freedom Celebration be without music?

"I think all the patriotic songs are great," said Val Koble, president of this year's Freedom Celebration committee. "It's the Fourth of July. It should be patriotic."

The committee does not have complete control over what songs go on the list. Melrose Pyrotechnics, the Kingsbury, Ind.-based agency that is putting on this year's fireworks show, first carefully choreographs its fireworks to a number of songs, Koble said.

So when Toby Keith sings "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," the fireworks are in tune.

Melrose Pyrotechnics submits a list of about 20 songs to the committee, Koble said.

"Everybody made their suggestions and we just went with the majority on the committee," he said.

That's how the playlist for this year's show was pared down to these 16 songs:

— "R.O.C.K. in the USA," John Mellencamp.

— "America," Rodney Atkins.

— "Born Free," Kid Rock.

— "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," Toby Keith.

— "Armed Forces Medley," San Francisco Symphony.

— "God Bless the USA," Lee Greenwood.

— "America the Beautiful," Ray Charles and Alicia Keys.

— "Home," Dierks Bentley.

— "Summer Nights," Grease.

— "Rolling in the Deep," Adele.

— "Moves Like Jagger," Maroon 5.

— "God Bless America," Martina McBride.

— "Bugler's Dream Olympic Fanfare," John Williams.

— "Reach," Gloria Estefan.

— "Stars and Stripes Forever," John Philip Sousa.

— "1812 Overture," Tchaikovsky.

Everyone's got their opinion.

"Kate Smith (singer of another version of "God Bless America") always used to be the favorite," Koble said. "But she's kind of gone by the wayside."

"Neil Diamond is great," he said, but he's not on this year's list.

Diamond made the cut in the past — in 2010, gazers heard him belting out "We're coming to America" as the fireworks boomed over Dodds Park.

"There's a lot of stuff that's been on there for ages and ages," Koble said.

John Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the USA" is ubiquitous during fireworks shows. "Stars and Stripes Forever" is a staple, and "God Bless the USA," in which Lee Greenwood declares he is proud to be an American, is a classic.

"It all worked out good," Koble said.

Whatever your opinion on the music, the grand finale promises to impress as the most dramatic section of "1812 Overture" reverberates with the bombs bursting in air.

The fireworks music will be played on 93.5 and 95.3 Connect FM.

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avieira wrote on July 04, 2012 at 8:07 am

The committee does realize that the "1812 Overture" is a piece by Russian composer Tchaikowsky  in 1880 to commemorate Russia's defense against Napoleon invading Grande Armee in 1812, right? It has nothing to do with the US.

ronaldo wrote on July 04, 2012 at 11:07 am

Yeah, Debbie Downer, other than the fact that it's been played for generations at patriotic events in the U.S., and thus is traditional, I guess that the self proclaimed intelligentsia (or those who excell at Google) have nothing better to do than attempt to demean it.

I'm guessing that you've walked down the aisle at graduation at graduation at least once, right?  What a proud moment as your family and friends watch you cross that stage, "Pomp and Circumstance" played by the orchestra, the overwhelming...............what?  Pomp and Circumstance has nothing to do with graduations?  Oh yeah, it's a military song. 

I guess we should eliminate that one, too.

avieira wrote on July 04, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Ronaldo...dude, seriously? Name calling? I am not a Debbie Downer; that selection has always puzzled me due to the fact that is has been the only song that does not pertain to America's history. That's all. I was not putting down, or asking to be eliminated from the selection or anything. I have been genuinely puzzled by this simple fact. :-)

Before you assume things about others and make accusations, please consider the fact that folks might just have a different perspective than you. It's ok, dude.

Hope your 4th has been great.


increvable wrote on July 04, 2012 at 8:07 am

"What would the fireworks show during the Champaign County Freedom Celebration be without music?"

Better? We are fortunate enough to have some fine orchestras in this community. Let's break out some Copland.

C. Alcyon wrote on July 04, 2012 at 11:07 am

I agree. Most of these songs are tacky, patriotic glurge, and what does Adele have to do with the Fourth, anyways? That's just bizarre.

It would definitely be a step up to have an outdoor symphony concert during the fireworks display, but honestly, I'd just prefer silence. The music really doesn't add anything, and most of the time it sounds like tinny background noise anyway, like a radio someone left on and tuned to a staticky AM station.

Just ditch the music. We don't have to add a soundtrack to everything. I'd rather just listen to the sounds of the people around me enjoying the show.

Sid Saltfork wrote on July 04, 2012 at 1:07 pm

It's the Fourth of July.  The day that lead to freedom.  The Freedom of Speech resulted from the first American Revolution.  It allows us to complain about something as trivial as the music played on the radio during the fireworks celebrating the day.  Enjoy the day for what it represents.  Feel blessed if your not required to work today.    

ronaldo wrote on July 04, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Excellent post.  Enjoy your 4th, Sid.

C. Alcyon wrote on July 04, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Oh, spare us the sanctimony, Sid.  But do enjoy your slick, corporately-produced fireworks soundtrack tonight.  Guess one person's noise pollution is another's celestial choir.

Joe American wrote on July 05, 2012 at 8:07 am

"Corporately produced"???  Gimme a freakin' break.

How did that occupy thing go for ya?

Sid Saltfork wrote on July 05, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I did not attend the event.  Loud explosions bother me.  Many citizen patriots avoid the "rockets red glare" for private reasons.  I do find it ironic that you complain about the music played on the radio during the event; but the loud explosions are not "noise pollution" to you.  Guess that must be your "celestial choir".  With no sarcasm meant, I hope you did enjoy the Fourth though.