Editor's note: This column is one of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic's Summer Symphony Stories. This one was written by Sam Eppley, chair of the board of directors, Downtown Partnership, Inc.
I began attending Summer Symphony concerts in the park when they first started in the early 1970's, and I continue that tradition today. There is always something special about packing a picnic and listening to live music by the Philharmonic, set against a beautiful backdrop of Pikes Peak and the mountains.
One of the things I've always loved about the concerts in the park is the ability for music to connect to people with varied musical taste. There is classical music, yes, but also Broadway hits, pop music, and even movie scores. Guest performers like Flash Cadillac and the Flying W Wranglers, vocalists, and featured soloists showed such diversity that no matter what your musical preference, concerts were thoroughly enjoyed. And, if it was your first experience with symphony music, you became a fan.
What I always remember the most are the 4th of July concerts. With the loud, bold, patriotic music, there seemed to be an instant sense of community. Something about the music and spirit of the day created shared smiles and conversation with complete strangers picnicking on blankets around you. The kids were hyper and anxious, dancing around to the music, waiting for fireworks to start. And when the Fort Carson cannons would boom to the 1812 Overture, you could feel the vibrations through the ground.
As Chair of the Board of Directors for Downtown Partnership, Inc., and as a downtown business owner, I'm dedicated to preserving and celebrating the treasures and legacies of our community. The summer symphony concerts in the park are exactly that - a community treasure we should embrace and enjoy. For some, these concerts are their first exposure to music that isn't an mp3 download. And, for some of us, they bring a bit of nostalgia as we look back over the years we've been going. The concerts bring families to our parks. They add cultural activity to our community. They capitalize on the beautiful outdoor settings in which we live. Most of all, they bring the talents of local musicians and the power of music to an open air setting for all to enjoy.
"FAITHFULLY: MUSIC OF JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, AND KANSAS"
What: The final concert in the Colorado Springs Philharmonic's Summer Symphonies series
Who: Lead by Thomas Wilson, with lead vocalist John Elefante and the Lionel Young Band
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bear Creek Regional Park, Cresta Road and Argus Drive
Admission: Free; 575-9632, csphilharmonic.org
Something else: Shuttles from Norris Penrose Center (parking $5) start at 5 p.m.; Lionel Young Band at 5:30 p.m.
One other thing: See more Summer Symphony Stories at csphilharmonic.org.