Arts and Culture

Mayor Greg Fischer has announced the return of “Louisville Orchestra Waterfront 3rd,” an Independence Day celebration sponsored by Thorntons that features a concert on the Great Lawn conducted by Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams. The event will take place on Sunday, July 3.

The concert will include patriotic favorites, as well as a special guest performance by the band Houndmouth, a nationally acclaimed act with local roots in New Albany, Indiana. Also featured will be two original scores by the #SingfortheCity contest winners, Justin Lewis and Carly Johnson. Finally, a fireworks display will top off the evening, accompanied by the orchestra.

“I think that if you’ve been coming to the orchestra you have hopefully become used to surprises and all sorts of of partnerships that you would never expect from a symphony orchestra,” Abrams says. “But that’s exactly what we’re about.”

Scene during the Louisville Orchestra Waterfront Fouth fueled by Thorntons in Louisville, KY. July 4, 2015 Frankie Steele

Scene during the Louisville Orchestra Waterfront Fouth fueled by Thorntons in Louisville, KY. July 4, 2015

The free event will open at 5 p.m. with a variety of activities produced by popular arts and cultural attractions — the Kentucky Science Center, Kentucky Museum of Arts and Craft, Friends of the Waterfront, WUOL’s Summer Listening Program, The Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana, and the Jug Band Jubilee, among others —  in the Fifth Third Family Fun Zone. The orchestra performance begins at 8:30 p.m.  

Families are encouraged to bring one recyclable item from home — like a plastic water bottle or a coffee can — which will be transformed into a keepsake musical instrument. Children will then be invited to use their instrument in a special performance with the orchestra.

Abrams says this is part of the organization’s initiative to engage audiences of all ages.

“And not just engage them by having all ages come to concerts, but by them actually participating in the music-making experience,” he says.

Fischer says that the city’s annual Independence Day celebrations have historically been incredibly important to the community.

“But it’s no secret that when there were budget cuts from the state to the local Waterfront Development Corporation’s budget, it really strained the resources to put on a big July 4 festival,” Fischer says. “So we had to step back from that a little bit and what we ended up coming back with, in my mind, was a tremendous display of our city’s talent where we rallied around the Louisville Orchestra.”

Fischer went on to say that the Louisville Orchestra Waterfront 3rd event is something “authentically Louisville,” and as a result drew nearly 35,000 attendees last year. This year, organizers are anticipating close to 40,000.