This Independence Day weekend, hoist “Old Glory,” put on your red, white and blue and join the North Carolina Symphony for an evening of free music and fireworks on Friday, July 1, at 8 p.m. at Festival Park, located at the corner of Ray and Rowan streets in historic down-town Fayetteville.

Come celebrate our nation’s 235th birthday under the stars as guest con-ductor Sarah Ioannides leads the North Carolina Symphony and tenor Adam Ulrich through a program of selected favorites, ranging from classical composi-tions and arrangements of musicals to American jazz and patriotic tunes.

“The program is a lot of fun,” said Jeannie Mellinger, director of communica-tions for the North Carolina Symphony. “It’s very familiar music, patriotic favor-ites, the toe-tapping kinds of things that people love to listen to around the 4th of July.”

Among the tunes the audience will enjoy are “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a Duke Ellington Medley, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “The Sound of Music: A Symphonic Picture,” as well as the “Semper Fidelis March” and a salute to the Armed Forces. Additionally, Ulrich will perform a selection of pieces, including “La Donna e mobile” from Rigoletto and “American Anthem.”

Ulrich, a native of New York and an alumnus of the UNC School of the Arts and the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute, is making his North Carolina Symphony debut under the direction of acclaimed guest conductor Ioannides, music director of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and the Spartanburg (S.C.) Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005, and recognized by the League of American Orchestras as one of the nation’s top emerging conductors.

“Sarah Iaonnides is one of the truly up-and-coming rising stars in the conducting world,” Mellinger said.

According to her website, Australian-born Iaonnides has been described “by the New York Times as a conductor with ‘unquestionable strength and authority,’” and “has received outstanding press for her innovative program-ming and creative artistic leadership with world premieres, vibrant multime-dia productions and stunning performances.” As a guest conductor, she has directed top orchestras, symphonies and ensembles on five continents, and she is looking forward to her engagement with the North Carolina Symphony this 4th of July weekend.

“I’m delighted to celebrate this magnificent American holiday with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra!” said Iaonnides. “We will offer a panoramic glimpse into the country highlighting the vision and optimism of the American spirit through classic American music. I find the history of Americ06-29-11-karen-popele.jpgan music fascinating with its rich diversity and have included selections from film, Broadway, jazz, sport, military marches, spiritual and patriotic Americana. We will also feature composers whose nationalities have come to join the wonderful melting pot of America. Adam Ulrich, a versatile young tenor with whom I’m excited to work, will play an integral role in the concert performing a mix of popular songs, and we also invite the audience to sing along to the Sound of Music. I truly look forward to a festive evening!”

And what better venue for a free concert with fireworks during our nation’s 235th birthday celebration than in a city noted for its History, Heroes and Hometown Feeling? 

For more information, visit or call 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.

Photo: Acclaimed guest conductor Sarah Iaonnides has put together an enter-taining program for the July 1 concert. 

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