“A Capitol Fourth” is fortunate to have a host of talented and award-winning celebrities participate in each concert. These performers represent an array of artistic styles, genres and experiences. Every year we ask the gifted group of entertainers on our show to share with us what July Fourth means to them.
Host Tom Bergeron explains why the “A Capitol Fourth” concert is important to him.
“To be in our nation’s capitol, celebrating our birthday collectively – red states, blue states, everybody together – was too good an opportunity to pass up. Hosting ‘A Capitol Fourth’ enables me to celebrate two things I’m a big fan of, America and PBS!”
— Tom Bergeron
“I love July 4th because it's just a big birthday party for the country to celebrate!”
— Megan Hilty
“Growing up, I had many fond memories of the 4th of July in Connecticut. Every year, the holiday was spent with friends and family. We would go Sherwood Island with my extended family and I can remember many good times playing wiffleball and volleyball with my loved ones. It was one of the rare chances to get to see the extended family, which was always something I looked forward to. Now that I have children of my own, I look forward to continuing the tradition. This day is special to me and I am grateful to be spending it this year in Washington, D.C. Looking forward to a great show!”
— Javier Colón
"I haven’t visited the States for a few years and to be invited to such a prestigious event is such an honor. It's a great privilege for me to be singing for the American Olympic Team, and the song I'll be performing is so appropriate for their challenges ahead and perfect for sending the US Olympians on their way to the UK for the Olympic Games."
— Russell Watson
“These concerts are important all across the country. Of course there are fireworks… but it’s the music which goes to the core and spirit of the country. And that’s a thrill for me.”
— John Williams, "The Washington Post" interview
“For me, celebrating the 4th of July, has been about celebrating our country's independence and history just as much as it has been about celebrating family and fireworks, baseball and BBQ, togetherness and traditional Americana. It is always an honor to participate in the rich musical tapestry that has been influenced and crafted by this day.”
— Josh Groban
“Fourth of July always brings back memories of summers at the lake and being with family. Of course it’s our Independence Day and it’s amazing to live in a country where we celebrate our freedom and those who fought so hard for it!"
— Jordin Sparks
“It’s patriotic and emotional. With the backdrop of all the national monuments, it focuses your attention on what the observance of the day really means. Considering our nation is in conflict right now and we have young people who are out protecting our freedom so we can watch fireworks on our day off, being in D.C. puts the Fourth of July in a great perspective.”
— Jimmy Smits, AOL interview
“The 4th of July will always make me feel like a kid again. Of all my childhood memories, the specific moments of 4th of July – the family gatherings, fireworks in the park and the patriotism that swelled in my small Oklahoma town – stick in my head the most. It is a privilege to share memories like these with my son and watch him make new ones of his own.”
— Kelli O’Hara
“The Fourth of July has always been a special time for me and my family. Celebrating our independence, cooking out with the family and finishing off with a great fireworks show, is the perfect day.”
— Reba McEntire
"The Fourth of July, to me, is a celebration of all the things that make this country great – independence, freedom from tyranny and all the other wonderful 'freedoms' that we enjoy in this country. It is also a reminder that these freedoms were won after a long, hard battle and must never be taken for granted."
— Gloria Estefan
“I have spent the Fourth of July in various places in my lifetime, but the one place that stands out is when I sang at a special performance in honor of the centennial of the Statue of Liberty. I will never forget the fireworks that exploded on the last note of my song, "One Voice". Magnificent. I look forward to singing at this year's July Fourth celebration.”
— Barry Manilow
“In a lot of ways, I really am the American dream. I’m the son of an immigrant from Italy, and my father was a garbage man for the city of New York, and so for me to be dancing in front of the Capitol, that says something.”
— Tony Danza, "The Washington Post" interview
“That’s America isn’t it? It’s a representation of the country’s diversity through music. We had two or three other offers for July Fourth –we always do– but we thought this was something unique.”
-Mike Love of the Beach Boys, "Tribune Media" interview
“When I was a kid, Fourth of July was always big for us because my mom had two sisters and there were 14 kids, and it was the one holiday we all knew we would always get together—either in Norfolk or Charleston. I guess I always remember Fourth of July meaning ‘family’ to me.”
— Darius Rucker
“I have always admired the American tradition of celebrating the Independence Day. In China, we are very aware of the importance of studying history and especially the turning points that change our world. I also like to think of it as a celebration of independence as it applies to our thinking, dreams and creative expression. And, of course, who doesn't love fireworks?”
— Lang Lang
The residents of "Sesame Street" love to celebrate birthdays and couldn’t be
more excited to celebrate the 233rd birthday of the United States of America
at "A Capitol Fourth" in Washington D.C.
— The Muppets from Sesame Street
“What does ‘patriotic’ mean? Elmo doesn’t know that word. Elmo’s going to sing songs about our country having a big birthday … Elmo loves birthdays and the big colors of fireworks in the sky.”
— Elmo, "The Washington Post" interview
“Wow. It’s pretty amazing that a humble cookie-loving monster could be performing at the July Fourth concert. I can’t believe that me going to be here. It’s a great country. If that can happen, anything can happen.
— Cookie Monster, "The Washington Post" interview
"The Fourth of July represents freedom. It is a concept that our country is based on and one we should never forget."
"For me, the Fourth of July is a day of celebration and acknowledgment of a courageous and brilliant Declaration of independence, intended to be the legacy and birthright for all Americans to come. This nation was born of a search to find and by all means necessary claim a life beyond the oppression of all tyrants for all mankind and for all time. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”
— Michael Bolton
“The Fourth is always a day of togetherness and gratitude for our blessed freedom as well as reflection. It also recalls happy times when growing up in Ohio and having cookouts, sing-a-longs and fireworks. For me there is a special feeling of contentment on the fourth.”
–- Michael Feinstein
“I have great childhood memories of sitting on the beach with family and friends, watching fireworks light up the glassy Pacific on the Fourth of July. For me, those wonderful evenings were as much about summer and togetherness as they were a celebration of our nation’s independence. Now, as I travel the world performing, the Fourth has taken on a greater meaning: it reminds me of the precious liberty we enjoy here at home and those courageous visionaries who fought for it.”
— Andrew von Oeyen
“The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate America and we are happy to do that by singing and dancing at the U.S. Capitol. We are lucky to live in this great country where dreams can and do come true. We are living proof.”
— Cast of "Jersey Boys"
"On the Fourth of July, I often reflect upon the words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are createdequal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As an American, I feel it is my duty to strive to keep these words alive in our society and the world today."
"Independence Day is an opportunity to share in the timeless gift of freedom. Although I call New Zealand home, I am honored to share in America's celebration of this landmark holiday and the meaningful significance it holds for its citizens."
— Hayley Westenra
"I grew up in a small New England town; Paul Revere, the battle of Lexington and Concord, the parades, the fireworks, heck, I even played Betsy Ross in my first grade school play. These are the images that remind me of what those before us endured to win us our freedom and to them I'm not only grateful, but protective of what we have now. Now more than ever, July Fourth is a day for all of us to preserve, to protect and to defend now and forever."
— Jo Dee Messina
For me, the Fourth of July celebrates this great country of America, and the gifts we are entitled to just by being citizens. As a young American myself, it is a day to be grateful, give thanks, and celebrate all the freedoms we are blessed with, and to honor and reflect on all the people who have sacrificed themselves, so that we may continue to experience our freedom."
"July Fourth celebrations in Indiana always meant gathering together for our family picnic, watching the fireworks, and listening to the live music. That experience is much the same today all around the country and our coming together for the celebration in our nation's capital is uniquely "A Capitol Fourth"!"
— Maestro Jack Everly, Conductor
"When I first conducted at the West Lawn of the U.S.Capitol many years ago, I turned around, not to conduct the National Symphony Orchestra, but to conduct the huge multitude of people gathered on the Lawn, in the singing of our National Anthem. My heart climbed up in my throat ... I was in such awe of the beauty of the setting. And still today, after conducting the "The Star-Spangled Banner" on so many occasions, I get that fantastic thrill through my body ... to be the nation's conductor at the United States Capitol. I just wish every American could have that opportunity. It is magical."
Maestro Erich Kunzel (March 21, 1935 - September 1, 2009)