The Edmond Sun
July 4th wouldn’t be Independence Day without parades, picnics, fireworks and patriotic songs like “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Edmond’s LibertyFest extravaganza wouldn’t be the same without the “Concert in the Park.”
For 64 years, guests have been entertained by the free event, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday outdoors at UCO’s Mitchell Hall Theatre.
The UCO Summer Band is directed by Brian Lamb, UCO wind symphony conductor. Major Emilio Urena, USAF, and his daughter Jasmine Urena will emcee the one-hour concert. It will feature a mixture of light classics, marches and patriotic music in the style of an old-fashioned concert in the park that will appeal to all.
The roughly 80 volunteer musicians come from the community, area high schools and college students. Lamb said musicians include multi-generational members of the same family and individuals who met and later married.
“It’s really a sense of community,” Lamb said.
Longtime band member Julie Drumm comes from a musical family. Her father plays the clarinet. She plays the flute. Her son Evan Drumm, a music education major at UCO, plays the trombone. So does her daughter Ellie Drumm. Her son Joshua Drumm, an All-Stater at Edmond Memorial High School, plays tenor sax. Her son Benjamin, 11, plays the trumpet.
Drumm said various combinations of family members have played in the LibertyFest concert, where she has found friends, pride in honoring the nation’s military personnel and joy in playing patriotic music.
“I like the music. I like that it’s a family affair,” Drumm said. “It’s just a joyous time.”
Following the concert, free watermelon and ice cream will be served up by event sponsors Homeland Stores and Blue Bell Ice Cream. Lamb, in his fourth year of directing the concert, said he appreciates UCO’s support, which has included rehearsal time and sheet music.
LibertyFest, which entertains an attendance of more than 125,000 annually, is a week-long event, which celebrates the nation’s birthday and Oklahoma’s heritage. It is in its 42nd year.
Supported by the local business community and organized and produced by more than 500 volunteers, LibertyFest hosts Oklahoma’s largest hometown Independence Day parade with 100-plus entries.
LibertyFest spokeswoman June Cartwright, who has been involved in planning for more than 20 years, said volunteers are ready.
“We’re in good shape,” Cartwright said.
The grand finale is the spectacular fireworks display, which begins at 10 p.m. July 4 on the University of Central Oklahoma campus. Organizers say it’s the largest display in the metro area.
Other LibertyFest favorites include the parade, which will begin at 9 a.m. July 4 in the downtown area, ParkFest at UCO, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. July 4, A Taste of Edmond, which will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 29 at the downtown Festival Market Place, the 45th Annual LibertyFest Rodeo June 28-29 at Carl Benne Arena and the Cardboard Boat Regatta, which begins at 6:30 p.m. June 27 at Arcadia Lake.
For more information, visit the LibertyFest website at www.libertyfest.org.