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.