Celebration at the Station commemorates end of Vietnam War

Celebration at the Station. Courtesy courtesy Cat Szalkowski.

Celebration at the Station. Courtesy courtesy Cat Szalkowski.

The Kansas City Symphony expects more than 50,000 people to attend its 13th annual Celebration at the Station event for the patriotic music, live cannons, and fireworks on Sunday, May 24.

The free event each year draws thousands of people to Kansas City’s Union Station to picnic, listen to the Symphony, and celebrate Memorial Day, all with the Liberty Memorial as a backdrop.

Planners say this year’s concert will also commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The National World War I Museum nearby is also sponsoring a traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall from May 22 to 25.

“It’s amazing to look toward Liberty Memorial from our stage, seeing 50,000 fellow Kansas Citians gathered to mark the holiday with friends and family. It’s a moment of real civic pride to celebrate together, “ Michael Stern, music director of the Kansas City Symphony, said in a press release. “But it also affords all of us at the symphony, with our music, a chance to say thank you to the entire city, as we honor the real and most profound meaning behind Memorial Day. For all of these reasons, this event is much more than just a concert.”

• Local Irish American folk rock band, The Elders, are special guests for the evening, performing “Building a Boat” and “Please Come Home” with the 80-member Kansas City Symphony.
• Continuous pre-concert entertainment on the main stage will include the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America “Phoenix Brass,” A La Mode Quintet (local swing band), Vine Street Seven (local big band-style jazz group), Diverse Jazz Quartet and Allegro Choirs of Kansas City: SPIRITO (young men’s choir).
• National Guard veteran, actor and former Chiefs running back John Amos will serve as guest host and narrator for the evening. Senior leadership from the United States Army Garrison Fort Leavenworth and Whiteman Air Force Base will be in attendance along with other guests of honor.
•An expanded family area and stage will include appearances by the Youth Symphony of Kansas City Brass Ensemble, Drum Safari (a community drumming circle), School of Rock, Science City and the Chiefs Rumble Drum Line. The family area also will have chalk art drawings, face painting, a hands-on craft station plus the Bush and Jamie Helzberg Instrument Petting Zoo where children can try their hand at various orchestral instruments.
• At 8 p.m., the Symphony will take the stage for a set of patriotic orchestral music, including the 1812 Overture, complete with three live firing cannons managed by “Truman’s Own” of the Missouri Army National Guard, Battery D.The fireworks begin at 9:45 p.m.

• KCPT 19 will broadcast live and is scheduled to rebroadcast the event several times during Memorial Day weekend. KCPT and other public television stations throughout the region will rebroadcast the event over the Fourth of July weekend. Check local listings for broadcast dates and times.

To join in on social media, the official event hashtag is #CelebrationKC.

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