I love “the 4th”…

…the burgers, baseball, the festive get-togethers, the fireworks and all the trappings that come with our Independence Day celebration … and of course the music.

Falling on a Wednesday this year tightens up the celebration a bit and sadly makes the whole event feel somewhat less weighty. I’m not sure I’ll even have time to make it through the complete array of VS 4th of July traditions … and that’s just wrong.

We’ll make it happen … even if we have to pare back the traditional passel of movies, music and food somewhat.

I’m an admitted Revolutionary War wonk…

…and have been since about the 3rd grade. I just can’t get enough of colonial America — especially the 20 years on either side of our war for “Independency”.

This fixation usually manifests in my inflicting hours of The Revolution (or it’s like) on my lovely bride via The History Channel … and then there’s the mandatory viewing of the musical 1776.

I adore 1776 — the (long) film version of the original Broadway play. It’s a caricature of the debate and signing of the Declaration of Independence … a light hearted take on the events of the day but it also delivers in full measure the gravity of what was hanging in the balance. Some of the songs can get tedious but overall the acting is great (mostly the original Broadway cast) and it’s a “stoke the American spirit” good time — perfect for the 4th.

When it comes to music for today…

Frank and the regular VocalStandards pallies get the day off… hey, they normally get exercised pretty hard around here so they can use the break! Glenn Miller and his wonderful Army Air force orchestra don’t get the same respite however.

Glenn, along with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops make up the bulk of my 4th of July playlist. There’s just something particularly resonant and appropriate about Glenn’s war years material, and of course The Boston Pops is the iconic manifestation for the music, spirit and celebration of our great country’s birthday.

My favorite B-Pops tracks come off the aptly named America LP. It’s a great assembly of songs perfect for an Independence Day celebration soundtrack.

In addition to the regular array of traditional patriotic goodness, I particularly like “Liberty Fanfare”, “Doodletown Fifers” and the armed forces medley “America, We’re Proud to Serve” … hell, even the reading of the Gettysburg address is awe inspiring. (have you ever listened closely to the words … arguably the best speech ever written)

I can’t remember the last time we didn’t end our 4th of July celebration watching the Pops TV special and fireworks spectacular … dabbing away tears during the crescendo of “Stars and Stripes Forever”.

Man, I tell you … since 911, I can’t make it  through that song. It’s sort of embarrassing because — no matter where I am — when “Stars and Stripes Forever” spins up I literally can’t stay dry eyed … the orchestra slows the tempo to build for the finish… geez, I’m getting misty just thinking about it!

Happy Birthday America!

Everyone have a great and safe holiday!