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KC STAR CLASSICAL BEAT: KC Symphony’s Celebration at the Station starts off summer with a boom

Bank of America Celebration at the Station. Mark McDonaldThousands gather yearly for the Kansas City Symphony’s Bank of America Celebration at the Station on Memorial Day weekend. This year the Symphony expects 50,000 people. Mark McDonald

BY PATRICK NEAS
Special to The Star
May 18, 2018 04:40 PM
Updated May 21, 2018 01:09 PM

Every year on the Sunday before Memorial Day, the grounds of Union Station and Liberty Memorial explode with fireworks and patriotic music to usher in summer. It’s the Kansas City Symphony’s Bank of America Celebration at the Station, and it brings together the city like no other event of the year.

Union Station and Liberty Memorial, which honors those who gave their lives in World War I, are the perfect setting for a Memorial Day concert, happening this year on Sunday, May 27. The Symphony is expecting 50,000 people to attend, so you are well-advised to arrive early, bring your blanket and stake out your territory. The event site opens at 3 p.m., and there will be plenty of pre-concert entertainment to keep you occupied until the main event at 8 p.m.

The Heartland Men’s Chorus will perform at 4 p.m., and the United States Air Force Hot Brass will heat things up at 5 p.m. Family activities throughout the day include an instrument petting zoo, face painting and exhibits from Science City. A wide variety of food trucks will be available to assuage hunger with everything from Cajun to Brazilian food and down-home favorites like hamburgers and lemonade.

At 8 p.m., Michael Stern will take the podium to conduct a program of patriotic crowd-pleasers and lesser-known gems of Americana. Stern always chooses works that are by turns rousing, thoughtful and touching. This year’s concert will celebrate three big centennials: the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, the World War I armistice and Irving Berlin’s composition of “God Bless America.”

But the piece everyone waits for is the grand finale, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. This year, as always, it will be accompanied by booming cannons and fireworks bursting in air. It’s the only way to conclude Celebration at the Station.

3 p.m. Sunday, May 27. Union Station. Free. For more information, visit kcsymphony.org.

Read the full article on The Star here.