Special compilation to air Memorial Day weekend on KCPT in lieu of live concert

Best of Celebration at the Station by the Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony is taking a walk down memory lane to create Best of Bank of America Celebration at the Station by the Kansas City Symphony.

In collaboration with KCPT (Kansas City PBS) and generously supported by Bank of America, the Symphony will present a “best of” broadcast compilation from the last several years. Music Director Michael Stern will provide comments throughout. The broadcast will air at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 24 and again at 8:30 p.m. Monday, May 25 on KCPT/Channel 19. KCPT also will simulcast on YouTube TV through the PBS channel.

The Symphony decided to share the “best of” broadcast in place of the outdoor live concert, which is the largest free Memorial Day weekend concert in the Midwest. It regularly draws crowds of 50,000 people to the grounds of Union Station and the National WWI Museum and Memorial. The Symphony canceled the in-person festivities this year due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

“Bank of America Celebration at the Station is presented each year by the Symphony for the entire Kansas City community,” says Symphony Executive Director Danny Beckley. “Our goal was to find a way to share this beautiful and powerful performance with our community safely, and remember what Memorial Day is all about — commemorating the brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. There is something uniquely special about this year. While we cannot gather in a large group in person, by sharing our music we’re reminded that we are still bonded together, still hopeful, and still supporting our heroes of past and present. This ‘best of’ broadcast is going to be a spectacular showcase, and we invite everyone to tune in as we share some of our best moments through the years.”

Broadcast highlights include:

  • Hometown favorites: Performances by Bobby Watson, The Elders and Jim Birdsall reciting a poem by John Musgrave.
  • Special guests: Performances by MusiCorps and Oleta Adams, John Brancy, Capathia Jenkins and Jim Birdsall.
  • Honoring troops: Favorites such as “Danny Boy,” “Taps,” “Armed Forces Salute,” “WWI Medley” and more.
  • Orchestral showstoppers: Kansas City Symphony performs “Saint Bailey’s Rag” and more, including Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
  • PLUS a very special guest:
    In a tribute to our military along with medical professionals and first responders fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, musicians of the Kansas City Symphony will join KC’s own internationally famous mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, performing from her home in Spain, in two beautiful favorites, “Shenandoah” and “Over the Rainbow.”

Generous support from Bank of America is making this “best of” compilation possible.

“We’re proud of our longstanding support that has made Bank of America Celebration at the Station possible for 17 years,” says Matt Linski, Kansas City Market President, Bank of America. “Though we won’t be together in person this year, thanks to KCPT, our community’s tradition of honoring the military with memorable performances by the Kansas City Symphony will continue.”

Additionally, the broadcast will include messages from Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and program collaborators Union Station, the National WWI Museum and Memorial, Bank of America and KCPT.

“We are pleased and honored to partner with the Kansas City Symphony and Bank of America to bring the ‘best of’ program to people throughout Kansas City,” says Kliff Kuehl, President and CEO of Kansas City PBS. “May it serve as a reminder of the wonderful Bank of America Celebration at the Station events we have had and as a nod to the wonderful concerts we will have again.”