Monday, July 2, 2012

Celebrate the Fourth in Salem!

Celebrate the Fourth in Salem this year, as our 12th Annual Salem Celebrates the Fourth Pops! Concert and Fireworks Spectacular wows crowds on Derby Wharf.

New this year! Two opening bands will perform on the main stage, beginning at 4:00 PM. 

9:00 AM . . . Reading of the Declaration of Independence on Salem Common.  Neil Chayet, best known for Looking at the Law™, a daily radio feature nationally syndicated by CBS and heard locally on WBZ News Radio 1030 AM,  will recite the words of this historic document.  Salem High School's award-winning a cappella group, Witch Pitch will sing the National Anthem and musical selections by Robert Kendall.

4:00 PM . . . Julie Dougherty & Friends perform a mix of pop/covers, originals, blues & country with Woody Woodward on Bass, Jack O'Soro on Drums, Jim Scoppa on Electric Guitar, and Taylor Armedring on Mandolin, on the Main Stage, Derby Wharf 

Kids' Crafts. Photo: Scott Lanes

4:00 PM . . . Children's Festivities on Central Wharf, until 7:00 PM. Activities, games, contests, prizes, face painting - all FREE! Provided by The Gathering, MeetingHouse Church, First Universalist Society of Salem, and Parents United.  Rita's Italian Ice will be giving away free samples (while supplies last!).

4:00 PM . . . Food Tents open. Purchase hot dogs, fries, fried dough, kettle corn, and more

5:30 PM . . . Britannica performs classic rock featuring guitar and vocals by Ted Solovicos and Peter Tentindo.

7:15 PM . . . Opening Ceremonies at the Main Stage with Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Congressman John Tierney, and National Park Superintendent Michael Quijano-West accompanied by the Salem Veterans Color Guard and Salem Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.   A military flyover by the 104th Fighter Wing from the Barnes Air National Guard unit is also expected.

Conductor Dirk Hillyer. Photo: Scott Lanes
7:30 PM . . . The Hillyer Festival Orchestra POPS Concert on the Main Stage.  The 40-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra (HFO) promises an exciting program this year commemorating the 200th anniversary of  the War of 1812, the honoring of Old Ironsides, and a 100 year remembering of the Titanic with selections from the movie.  Jazzy dance tunes including "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't got that Swing" by Ellington and "Strike up the Band" by Gershwin, then funny tunes for Tuba featuring terrific tuba player, Mike Milnarik.

A big highlight will be the well-known composer for films, Mason Daring. Mason's FRONTLINE music has been on PBS for 32 years - the longest running PBS show.  Mason Daring will perform some of his best songs on guitar from his latest CD.  One of the best vocalists from Boston will sing a Puccini favorite followed by a 50 year Oscar tribute to the great Henry Mancini, including Peter Gunn, Pink Panther, and others.  Then we finish off picturing Tom Cruise with the Mission Impossible Theme!

Fireworks over Tall Ship Friendship. Photo: Scott Lanes
9:15 PM . . . Fireworks extravaganza accompanied by the Hillyer Festival Orchestra playing The 1812 Overture and other live patriotic songs throughout the entire fireworks display.

Part of the allure of this celebration is its setting.  The first National Historic Site in the National Park System, Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of nine acres of waterfront land and houses a dozen historic structures, including, the Custom House, where famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked; and, Derby Wharf, which was used by America's first millionaire Elias Hasket Derby, who made his fortune from this port of call.  Looking out at historic Salem harbor with hundreds of boats moored and the replica of a 1700's sailing vessel, the Friendship, serving as a backdrop, Independence Day is truly felt as you are surrounded by the history that helped us to become an independent nation.

July 4th is the perfect day to spend in historic Salem.  Start off bright and early at Salem Common for the reading of the Declaration of Independence, spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon visiting our historic sites and attractions, dine at one of our many restaurants and then wander down to Derby Wharf for a spectacular concert and fireworks extravaganza.

For more information, visit or call Salem City Hall at 978-619-5676. For information regarding our mobility impaired/wheelchair seating section, please call 978-619-5676.

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