Thursday, July 05, 2007

An Independence Day Night on the Square

For six weeks during the summer, Wednesday nights in Madison mean Concerts on the Square, and the 4th of July show is always huge--especially when it falls on Independence Day. Good thing we were able to go up in the afternoon to set out our blanket! First, I am never, EVER inviting SG to do anything with us again. Last week I was told they were going to the concert with us this week and looking forward to it. Well, we get ready to leave and call to see if they are going up the same time we are, or would like us to take an extra blanket to save a space for them--only to have SG back out again at the last minute. This was the second time in as many days, since they were supposed to go to Rhythm & Booms with us too. We ended up leaving later than intended, arriving on the Capitol Square about 3:30pm. The area in front of the stage on both sides of the King Street corner was already completely full! They must have let people set blankets out before the usual 3pm mandate because there is no way it filled up THAT fast. We were able to find decent seats the next section over on the corner of Pinckney and East Washington, which was better than sitting on the complete opposite corner as the orchestra (essentially "behind" the Capitol by State Street), but still...

Special guests this week were the vocal group Five by Design. They have performed with the orchestra before and are just excellent. They do 40s and 50s music and always have people singing and even dancing along. There was a very special moment last night, too. After the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, maestro Andrew Sewell, who is originally from New Zealand, announced that this was his and wife Mary's first 4th of July as US citizens. The orchestra then performed their first selection, a piece by Aaron Copland, and then US representative Tammy Baldwin was introduced, who presented the Sewells with an American flag flown over the Nation's Capitol. Nope, not a dry eye in the audience! The highlight of the patriotic concert is always the "1812 Overture" -- complete with cannon fire and special appearance by the Ringling Bros. Silver Bells Wagon. From where we sat this year we could not see the cannon perched atop the Isthmus building, but the bells were directly behind us and we could see them being played.

After the concert, we dumped our stuff in the trunk and, breathing a sigh of relief that we weren't going to have to sit half an hour in the horrendous traffic exiting the parking ramp, walked over to the Monona Terrace, where we watched fireworks from the rooftop gardens with a couple hundred others who had the same idea. We could see several different communities from there, looking out across the peaceful waters of Lake MononaMonona, Stoughton, McFarland, Sun Prairie, and even, depending what end of the gardens you were on, fireworks from Elver Park and other Madison communities. Not a bad place to view fireworks at all. No bugs and a lot less traffic as other venues, though it may have been a wee bit nicer with fewer lights.

1 comment:

Jana said...

Sounds as though you had a lovely time despite getting there later than intended. What a fun way to spend the 4th. :-) And Yay! to not having to deal with traffic. We got caught up in some on the way into Tuscaloosa and it was not pretty. ;-)