An all-time high 12,555 of our closest friends flocked into The Pavilion last for Star-Spangled Salute - we really hope you were one of them.
The night started (and ended - but we'll get to that later) with a bang. The Houston Symphony kicked off the show the way every celebration of America's birthday should - with a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. This already fantastic performance by the symphony was bolstered by the unbelievable voice of a 17-year old vocalist, Sean Holshouser. First, his vocals silenced the packed Pavilion - we were stunned by his range and the maturity in his voice. As the Star-Spangled Banner's energy rose, however, so did the crowd's resolve to applaud Sean's performance. Sean crescendoed emphatically, and the night was on its way.
Holshouser wouldn't be the only impressive vocalist to take the stage. After playing a few American classics that got the crowd up and dancing, Grammy-nominated singer Ryan Shaw took the stage. Ryan is an all-out performer, and his range couldn't possibly be overstated. He led the people of The Pavilion in the kind of jam-session you wouldn't normally expect at a symphony show. We were continually surprised at what Ryan's voice could do and we were having more fun than I could put into words. There was plenty of dancing to go around.
After a full set of patriotic, symphonic and American classics, the Houston Symphony presented its salute to the members of our military, both veterans and active. It recognized each of the branches of our armed forces with their theme and presented the audience with an opportunity to show their gratitude as well. It was a sweet thing to see over 12,000 people stand in thanks for the service of brave men and women - and well deserved.
The night ended the only way it could - with the 1812 Overture and the firing of real cannons from atop the lawn. It was a perfectly patriotic finish to a night we won't soon forget.