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Kansas City Symphony Welcomes Special Guest Patti Austin to 15th Annual Bank of America Celebration at the Station

Bank of America Celebration at the Station logoThe Symphony’s 15th annual Memorial Day weekend event centers on a patriotic concert with vocalist Patti Austin, plus pre-show music, activities for veterans and families, and fireworks

The Kansas City Symphony has announced Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Patti Austin will debut as special guest and host for the 15th annual Bank of America Celebration at the Station on Sunday, May 28, held at Union Station. 

As the largest FREE Memorial Day weekend event in the Midwest, with around 50,000 people expected to attend, the Kansas City Symphony continues to expand its annual gift to the region while honoring the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

Grounds open at 3 p.m. with opportunities to enjoy pre-concert entertainment by the Airlifter Brass of The United States Air Force Band of Mid-America and A La Mode. Also on site will be more than a dozen food trucks, a multitude of family-friendly and hands-on activities in the Lee Jeans Family Zone as well as an area to learn about veteran services in the newly-added Grantham University Veterans Place. 

At the heart of the Grantham University Veterans Place will be a model tiny home by Veterans Community Project (VCP). In 2015, the organization launched Veterans Village in Kansas City, Kan., a community of 50 transitional tiny homes for homeless veterans, and has since received national attention for their efforts. Other highlights of the Veterans Place include the V.A. Mobile Vet unit, Warrior’s Best Friend, RideKC’s illustrated “Honoring Veterans” bus, Bank of America’s financial health information and resources for veterans and active-duty military, as well as Grantham University’s tent with even more resources and opportunities for veterans. 

At 8 p.m., Music Director Michael Stern will conduct the Kansas City Symphony and guests in a 100-minute, no-intermission concert filled with patriotic works such as “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Armed Forces Salute” and Tchaikovsky’s ever-rousing “1812 Overture” with live cannons firing from the platform north of the National World War I Museum and Memorial. 

Patti AustinIn homage to the great chanteuse Ella Fitzgerald (who would have been 100 this year), Austin will sing songs Fitzgerald was known for, such as “Anything Goes,” “Mack the Knife” and “Get Happy.” Members of the Symphony Chorus will accompany her on several selections. 

Continuing the centennial of the United States’ entrance into WWI, the program includes a medley of Great War-era songs that the Symphony commissioned expressly for this event. To acknowledge what would have been the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy, the Symphony will perform an orchestral suite from the film “J.F.K.,” scored by John Williams. Special guest Jim Birdsall (announcer for CNBC and NFL Films) and members of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America also make their returns to the stage during the concert. Vietnam Veteran John Musgrave from Baldwin City, Kan., will read one of his poems, accompanied by music of Aaron Copland. 

The program culminates at 9:40 p.m. with a grand finale. All eyes will turn skyward for the city’s largest display of choreographed fireworks, presented to the beat of patriotic music and overlooking the National World War I Museum and Memorial. 

Attendees are encouraged to use the Kansas City streetcar, which is free to ride, and will operate until 11 p.m. The streetcar runs a 2-mile loop with 16 stops from the River Market area through downtown and Crossroads Arts District to Union Station, which is the event stop. Most area parking costs $10-15 cash per car. There also will be numerous road closures in the area, including at Pershing Road and Main Street. For detailed parking and closure information, view a map here

As the event draws near, the Symphony will post more details regarding pre-show entertainment, special exhibits and more at kcsymphony.org/celebration and on the Symphony’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The official event hashtag is #celebrationkc. 

Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) will broadcast the event live on Channel 19 and re-air the event on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. The rebroadcast airs regionally on Independence Day as well.

To learn more call (816) 471-0400.