Johnstown Symphony Orchestra

The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra’s Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks Spectacular will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 4, 2019, with the performance moved to 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial because of weather. The patriotic program will be directed by Maestro James Blachly.

It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without festive music and fireworks lighting the sky.

The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra’s Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks Spectacular will entertain crowds beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point, downtown Johnstown.

The free event will feature a program of patriotic and popular music, including “God Bless America,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and “Armed Forces Salute,” where men and women serving or have served in the military will be honored and recognized.

Maestro James Blachly said the annual concert is not just the largest event for the symphony, but it is one of the largest gatherings in the city, with more than 4,000 people packing the stadium. 

“It’s such a special concert for us all because of the role we play in bringing the entire city together in celebration of our independence,” he said.

“Putting on this concert is a huge labor of love for the city, from the use of Sargent’s Stadium at the Point, to the fire and police departments, to the city agencies that support the venture, to the sponsors that help cover the costs

of the concert. For us, it’s one of our great gifts to be able to give to the city.”

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring American flags to the concert.

“It’s a magical experience to be outside listening to this powerful and beautiful music as we celebrate this country together as a community,” Blachly said.

“We are thrilled to have Nicole Khouzami with us, and to perform for this enthusiastic and patriotic crowd, and to celebrate our great country with thousands of our fellow citizens.”

As in previous years, the show will culminate with the symphony’s performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and John Philip Sousa marches while fireworks are launched from Prospect Hill, across the river from downtown Johnstown.

“This year, in celebration of our upcoming season, which is called ‘Made in Johnstown,’ we will be featuring music that has been composed for Johnstown and the symphony, including ‘My Own Johns-town’ and the ‘Crown American March,’ ” Blachly said.

The event also will include the introduction of the newly appointed executive director of the JSO, Jessica Satava, who will take over the position Aug. 1.

Satava is coming to the JSO from her most recent role as concert operations supervisor at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

“This will be the first opportunity for many in Johnstown to meet Jessica,” Blachly said.

“She is going to make a huge difference for the JSO and the city.”

He added they also plan to announce a new concert that will be held later in the year.

In the event of inclement weather, the concert will move indoors to 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown.

Fireworks will occur unless the weather presents unsafe conditions.

Pat Hofscher, retiring JSO executive director, said the Fourth of July concert has been JSO’s gift to the Greater Johnstown community for nearly 30 years.

“As one longtime JSO board member used to remind us, freedom is not free – someone – sometime – someplace paid the price,” she said.

“This family-friendly evening welcomes people of all ages to just sit back and enjoy and absorb one of this region’s greatest cultural assets.”

The concert is underwritten by 1st Summit Bank, AmeriServ Financial, Concurrent Technologies Corp., First Commonwealth Bank, Highmark, Martin-Baker America, North American Hoganas, Milkie’s Lawn and Garden Center, Somerset Trust Co. and S&T Bank.

 The city of Johnstown donates the use of Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.

Somerset Trust Co. and Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership have teamed up to co-sponsor the fireworks display.

“Great music performed by a world-class orchestra is the best way to celebrate our nation’s birthday, and the fireworks add a finishing touch to the evening,” Hofscher said.

“We look forward to sharing this wonderful evening with all the citizens of Johnstown and the surrounding areas.”

Donations received at the concert will help support the youth activities and outreach of the symphony.

Free parking will be available throughout the downtown.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.