On July 2, 3 and 4, more than 30,000 fans are set to celebrate not only our country’s birthday, but something that has sparked patriotism and good-will in the hearts of Concord and Clayton residents for a quarter-century: The 25th anniversary of Concord’s Singing Flag at Dave Brubeck Park.
Back in 1988, the pageant was first presented to an enthusiastic, yet smaller crowd of 1,200 onlookers at what was then called Concord Boulevard Park. Now, 25 years later, the Calvary Temple Church-sponsored event has become a staple for several generations of residents.
Linda Reynolds, director of The Singing Flag, has been a part of the event since its inception. She describes the event as “a fun family day where you can put a blanket down, barbecue with your family, let the kids enjoy the fun zone and have great time with each other.” Many people arrive as early as 6 a.m. in the morning to set their blankets out on the lawn to reserve their place for the day, Reynolds says.
Jeremy Gould of Concord has made the event a yearly tradition for his family. “It’s just a great family atmosphere,” he says. “It’s also a place that brings us together with our friends and family, as well as being just clean wholesome family fun.” Don Osias of Clayton has similar feelings. “We love the fact that it’s very much a community, fun thing to do that you can take anybody to,” he says. “It’s just a neat, fun event with a good feel for the Fourth of July, where we can celebrate that we’re a nation and say thanks to all the service-people who contribute. It’s just a nice way to enjoy the day.”
The celebration’s highlight is a spectacular two-hour patriotic variety stage show, which begins at 7:30 each evening. The show is complete with a full choir, live dancing, cartoon and television spoofs, and an emotionally touching hero’s salute to military men and women. The evening is then closed out with Concord’s only aerial fireworks display.
This show is the highlight of the day for many families. “I love seeing my kids’ faces,” says Becky Rajeski of Clayton. “The musical numbers, the dancing and singing – it’s fun and well done. And then the military part too. I always actually kind of tear up a little bit, because it makes me appreciate what our men and women have done for our country.”
John Gregg, the Lead Pastor of Calvary Temple Church, sees The Flag as the church’s chance to honor the country. “The Flag is a celebration and appreciation of America and of the freedoms and blessings we enjoy as Americans.”
The Singing Flag commands an army of roughly 600 volunteers in choir, concessions, parking, security, acting and countless other areas. Ruth Andrews has served in several of these spots over the past 25 years, currently in the costume department. “It’s hard to describe what you feel like when you’re actually up on The Flag singing and you see how responsive the crowd is to how we honor our military. That part is the most awesome, it’s just really neat.”
Lyndsie Smith, a vocalist at The Flag, says, “The Flag is like showing up at Christmas dinner… being around people you love, being around family you love and being a part of something good.”
The Singing Flag will take place at Dave Brubeck Park on July 2, 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. For more info, visit www.calvarytemple.org or www.theflag.org.