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Arts & Culture

A Capitol Fourth 2021

Fireworks over the U.S. Capitol. (undated photo)
Courtesy of Capital Concerts / Michael Simone
Fireworks over the U.S. Capitol. (undated photo)

Stream or tune in Sunday, July 4, 2021 at 8 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

The 41st annual “A Capitol Fourth,” America’s Independence Day celebration on PBS, will be hosted by multi-platinum recording artist and star of television, film and the Broadway stage Vanessa Williams.

Planning has been underway for many months for “A Capitol Fourth” to be a pre-recorded show due to the pandemic with a live fireworks presentation, in lieu of the traditional live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

The nation’s 245th birthday celebration will feature Williams hosting and performing from Washington, D.C. All-new pre-taped performances from locations across the country will feature top stars from pop, country, R&B, classical and Broadway.

Singer-Songwriter Jennifer Nettles
Courtesy of Capitol Concerts
Singer-Songwriter Jennifer Nettles

The broadcast will also feature a patriotic July 4 message to the American people wishing everyone a happy and safe Independence Day from the three NASA astronauts on the International Space Station, Robert Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Mark T. Vande Hei.

Capping off the concert broadcast will be live coverage of the fireworks display over our nation’s iconic skyline captured by multiple cameras stationed around the city.

Fourth Of July Fun:

Viewing Party Toolkit

Take the American History Quiz

Name Your Favorite Firework! - Did you know there are more than a dozen different types of aerial fireworks? Here are 10 examples of the pyrotechnics that you might see at this year’s celebration.

Color Your Own A Capitol Fourth! - Renowned production designer Rene Lagler has created these coloring pages just for our viewers. Whether you prefer to print and color between the lines using crayons, markers or paintbrushes or work with digital paint tools in your favorite app, we’ve got the pages for you. Select from the .pdf or .png files below by clicking the download button beneath each one.

“As families and friends reunite and the country begins to open up this Fourth of July, we plan to bring you an exciting program with the greatest fireworks display in the nation, performances by the biggest stars and patriotic favorites,” said Executive Producer Michael Colbert. “Make ‘A Capitol Fourth’ your Independence Day celebration. We have something for everyone’s party.”

Pentatonix
Courtesy of Capital Concerts
Pentatonix

The award-winning broadcast will bring us together with themes of love, hope, and patriotism, with performances and tributes from around our great country by:

  • Multi-platinum selling music legend Jimmy Buffett
  • Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, Cynthia Erivo from Southern California
  • Multi-platinum selling country music icon and Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winner Alan Jackson from the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville
  • Three-time Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling artists Pentatonix overlooking the downtown Los Angeles skyline
  • Grammy Award-winning country star Jennifer Nettles from the famed Town Hall in NYC’s Times Square with the Broadway Inspirational Voices
  • Acclaimed actress and singer Auli’i Cravalho ("Moana," "All Together Now") in Queens, NY, from the Unisphere, a symbol of peace through understanding
  • Diamond-selling and multi-Grammy Award-winning band Train overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
  • From Washington, DC: “Empress of Soul” and seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gladys Knight
  • Country music star and Grammy-nominee Mickey Guyton
  • Tony Award-winning Broadway and television star Ali Stroker
  • Acclaimed ACM New Male Artist of the Year Award-winning, multi-platinum country music singer-songwriter Jimmie Allen
  • Tony Award-nominated Broadway star Laura Osnes
  • The National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly.
  • World-renowned four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano superstar Renée Fleming will open the show with a special performance of the national anthem
American country music singer and songwriter Jimmie Allen
Courtesy of Capitol Concerts
American country music singer and songwriter Jimmie Allen

The National Symphony Orchestra will perform John Williams’ inspiring composition “Olympic Fanfare” in tribute to Team USA, honoring the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams as they prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The concert will honor men and women of our military and their families for their contributions to our nation and their dedication to service, which exemplifies the American ideals we celebrate on the Fourth of July.

Auli’i Cravalho
Courtesy of Capitol Concerts
Auli’i Cravalho

The top-rated, award-winning program available on television, radio and digital media will feature a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” with the National Symphony Orchestra and The Joint Armed Forces Chorus to accompany the fireworks, an audience favorite and “A Capitol Fourth” tradition.

Also participating are members of the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The Joint Armed Forces Chorus, and The Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

Maestro Jack Everly leads the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) for "A Capitol Fourth." (undated photo)
Courtesy of Capital Concerts
Maestro Jack Everly leads the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) for "A Capitol Fourth." (undated photo)

Watch On Your Schedule:

The annual broadcast airs Sunday, July 4, 2021 beginning at 8 p.m., as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network.

The concert will also be streaming on Facebook, YouTube and pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth and available to stream on demand from July 4 to July 18, 2021.

Join The Conversation:

"A Capitol Fourth" is on Facebook, Pinterest, and you can follow @July4thPBS on Twitter. PBS is on Instagram. #July4thPBS

American Flag
Courtesy of Capital Concerts / Michael Simone
American Flag