For many of us, July 4 is the highlight of the summer and now it is just around the corner. And with Independence Day comes a birthday celebration like no other in the world.
More information on the Fourth of July events appears elsewhere in The Eagle, but here is a brief overview for planning purposes.
• Today, 6 p.m. -- An evening of patriotic music at Christ United Methodist Church, 4201 Texas 6 S. in College Station. The church's Sanctuary Choir will salute America's veterans and those who continue to serve us today. The American Legion Post 159 Honor Guard will present the colors. A social time will follow the concert. Free.
• Tuesday, 8:45 a.m. -- Participants in the annual Foxfire 4th of July parade will begin gathering at The Triangle Park on Foxfire Drive. The Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem will be at 9 p.m., followed by the parade at 9:15 a.m.
Participants will parade around the Triangle three times for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. People are encouraged to decorate your trike or bike, dress kids and pets in patriotic costumes. Bring a chair to sit in. Refreshments will follow the parade.
• Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- The annual College Station Noon Lions Club I Love America Fourth of July Celebration at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The museum, a really marvelous place, will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., with free admission all day. If you haven't toured the museum before or it has been a while, this is a great opportunity to see what I think may be our nation's finest presidential museum (and I have been to every one except George W. Bush's library in Dallas). Concession stands open outside the library selling a variety of traditional summer treats.
At 6 p.m., live entertainment begins, inclosing Kane Alvarado and Xchange, with special guest Courtnie Ramirez. Also at 6 p.m., the Kids' Zone opens through 8:30 p.m., with games and bounce houses for children.
Then, for me, the highlight of the day begins at 8:45 p.m. with the annual patriotic concert by our own fabulous Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marcelo Bussiki. The orchestra is expected to perform such favorites as John Philip Sousa's Washington Post March and Stars and Stripes Forever, Pytor Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Edwin Eugene Bagley's National Emblem March, and the stirring Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe and William Steffe.
The fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Sponsors of the evening include H-E-B, Wells Fargo and Union Pacific.
All the events are free, although there is a charge for concessions.
Free parking is available at Fan Field, the gravel parking lot on Research Parkway on the Texas A&M University campus. Please enter Research Park via John Kimbrough or Discovery Drive. There will not be shuttles from the West Campus Garage or Reed Arena. Handicapped parking is available in Lot 41 in front of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum entrance.
Patrons are invited to come early and bring lawn chairs, picnic baskets and blankets. No pets or glass containers are allowed.
• Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site's Fireworks on the Brazos Celebration. If you haven't been to where Texas was born, this is a golden opportunity. The Star of the Republic Museum, Visitor's Center and Barrington Living History Farm will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Charges apply for the museum and farm, but they are well worth the small cost. Everything else is free and a free shuttle will take visitors to the different parts of the park.
There will be tours of the recreation of Independence Hall -- where the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico was signed on March 2, 1836 -- will be offered at 11 a.m. and 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 p.m. Kids' crafts will be in the Visitors' Center from 1-3 p.m.
Sponsor H-E-B is offering free soft drinks throughout the afternoon, while free Blue Bell ice cream will be handed out from 5-7 p.m. From 6-7 p.m. there will be period baseball games, followed from 7-9 p.m. by a free concert by the Wesley Westbrook Band.
And then, at 9:30 p.m., there will be the free fireworks extravaganza.
Visitors may bring picnics, blankets, lawn chairs and flashlights. Alcohol is prohibited.
In addition to H-E-B, sponsors of the even include Brenham National Bank, KTEX 106 Sounds Like Texas, KWHI 1280, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Del Sol Food Co.-Briannis, Germania Insurance, Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Star of the Republic Museum/Blinn College, and the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association.
• Tuesday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- The 14th annual District 2 Volunteer Fire Department Fireworks Show & Fundraiser takes place at the Kurten Community Center at 13055 Texas 21 East in Kurten.
There will be burgers, hotdogs and barbecue for sale, music, raffles, free children's games, a cake walk and more, And, of course, it wouldn't be Independence Day without fireworks lighting up the night sky.
Admission is free.
Open auditions for Hello, Dolly! at The Theatre Company in Bryan's Tejas Center will be at 7 p.m. tonight, with call backs at 7 p.m. Monday. The beloved musical will be Fridays through Sundays, Aug. 4 through Aug. 20.
Rob Gretta, a theater teacher at Indiana University in Indiana, Pennsylvania, will be guest director for Hello, Dolly! and will head the audition process. I can't wait to meet him.
Gretta has asked those auditioning to prepare a performance résumé for tonight. A sample résumé can be found at www.musical-theater-kids.com/sample-audition-resume.html.
Those wishing to audition should prepare a portion of a Broadway show tune from any musical other than Hello, Dolly!
The theatre program at Blinn College in Brenham has announced its 2017 season, Lights Out: A Season of Dark Tales. Some of the shows may be familiar, but others probably will be new to audiences.
The season includes:
• Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring, Sept. 7, 8, 9 and 10 -- Drama critic Mortimer Brewster must deal with two elderly aunts who murder lonely old men, a brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt and a murderous brother who has had plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice. The classic Cary Grant movie is based on this play. This will be the 2017 Theatre Arts Faculty Showcase.
• Zombie Prom by Dana Rowe and John Dempsey, Oct. 12 ,13, 14 and 15 -- Set in the atomic world of the 1950s, the play tells of pretty senior Toffee, whose family makes her breakup with bad boy Jonny. After Jonny rides his motorcycle through a nuclear waste dump (don't you hate when that happens?), he returns determined to take Toffee to the prom. The play ends with a tuneful selection of original music. There will be preview performances for middle and junior high students on Oct. 12 and 13.
• Slaphappy, presented by the Blinn College Chapter of Delta Psi Omega and the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology, Oct. 26 and Feb. 15, 2018 -- An evening with an improvisation troupe made up of members Blinn College's two theatre organizations, Slaphappy has a style that's always challenging and never stale.
• Hansel and Gretel by Michele L. Vacca, Nov. 16, 17,18 and 19 -- In an attempt to have enough to eat during a great famine, a woodcutter and his abusive second wife decide to abandon their two children in the woods. After being left to die, the children, Hansel and Gretel, discover a large cottage built of gingerbread, cakes, and delicious candies. The tired and hungry children begin to eat the candy house, unaware that it is owned by a bloodthirsty witch. Elementary school preview performances will be on Nov. 16 and 17. This will be the 2017 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival entry.
• Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer, Feb. 22, 23,24 and 25, 2018 -- Brindsley, a sculptor, and his fiancée, Carol, have borrowed some expensive furniture from a neighbor without permission in order to impress a millionaire art collector coming to view the young artist's work. When a blown fuse plunges the building into darkness, Carol's militant father arrives, the neighbor returns early, and Brindsley's ex-girlfriend shows up unexpectedly, things slide quickly into disaster. High School preview performances will be Feb. 22 and 23, 2018. This will be the 2018 Texas Community College Speech and Theatre Association Play Festival entry.
• Theatre Arts Student Showcase, April 5 and 6, 2018 -- Join the Blinn College Theatre Arts Program for an evening of entertainment as students from the theatre arts program showcase the technical and acting skills they have acquired over the 2017- 2018 school year.
• One Act Play Contests, April 12 and 14, 2018 -- The top six Region III-AAA and Region IV-A high school one-act plays gather at Blinn College in Brenham for a day of outstanding theater performances, adjudicated for advancement to the State UIL One-Act Play Championship in Austin.
With the exception of the Theatre Arts Student Showcase, all performances will be in the outstanding Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center on the Blinn Brenham Campus. The Theatre Arts Student Showcase will be in the MRW Studio Theater on campus.