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Charlotte Symphony's "Celebrate America" Acknowledges Trauma While Celebrating Life

Jun 25, 2021

By Cecilia Whalen, CVNC 

Any Fourth of July party risks irony, particularly after a year marked by social injustice, an attempted coup d'├ętat, and a pandemic. Thus, I must admit that while standing amongst a crowd with my hand over my heart as the Charlotte Symphony opened its Celebrate America concert with the "Star-Spangled Banner," I was skeptical. However, I was happily surprised: In joy as well as sorrow, the CSO provoked questions about the American identity and the past two years while maintaining a celebration of life and community through music.

The Charlotte Knight's Truist Field was packed. The orchestra, led by a black and gold Knights jersey-wearing Christopher James Lees, was set up in the middle of the field and amplified by speakers. Following the national anthem was a new "Fanfare for Democracy," by James Stephenson, which was commissioned for President Biden's inauguration and has since been commissioned by an orchestra from each state. The CSO is proud to be North Carolina's representative.

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