Strings, stars and stripes

Maestro Adam Flatt and the Newport Symphony Orchestra stand before an applauding crowd before beginning the concert with a rendition of the national anthem. (Photo by Stephanie Blair)

Newport Symphony performs free Fourth of July concert

Crowds flocked to Newport Middle School on Thursday afternoon for a beloved Independence Day tradition: the Newport Symphony Orchestra at the Ocean’s free Fourth of July concert.

This free Fourth of July concert started as a gift from the Newport Symphony to the community about 15 years ago. Though originally held at the Newport Performing Arts Center, it quickly outgrew that venue and is now held in the gymnasium of Newport Middle School each year.

“There’s a lot to love about the Fourth of July concert,” said Maestro Adam Flatt, conductor of the symphony. “I love the feeling of community in the room, and that comes to a high-point, I think, when we salute the veterans and the serving members of the armed forces, and the local members of the fleet and their families.”

One of the traditions for the concert is to recognize the uniformed service members who defend this country. Each of the service branches has its service hymn played — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard — while active and retired service members stand and are recognized for their service. In 2016, the symphony also started recognizing local fishermen who risk their lives at sea by including the piece, “On the Open Sea.”

But the concert wasn’t all serious: kids were treated to a Mary Poppins medley and an arrangement of music from the 2017 film “Wonder Woman.” The audience was also welcomed to join in and sing the state song, “Oregon, My Oregon,” as well as the timeless classic: “This Land Is Your Land.” The lyrics were even helpfully printed on the back of the show programs, so everyone could follow along.

“There’s a good spirit here, and a good mix of music,” commented Flatt.