American spirit takes center stage at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion with the return of the annual Star-Spangled Salute July 3 at 8 p.m. The Houston Symphony performs an array of patriotic selections at this FREE Independence Eve celebration proudly sponsored by The Woodlands Development Company. Led by Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski, this performance ignites the Fourth of July weekend in true American style! Pre-concert activities begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Fidelity Investments Plaza.

At the Star-Spangled Salute, the symphony performs a variety of traditional favorites, American classics and patriotic medleys, ending with Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular “1812 Overture” complete with cannons blasting away at the top of the hill. Selections include “American Salute,” “Oh! Susanna,” “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Service Medley” and “America the Beautiful.”

In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, the Houston Symphony also performs Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” featuring a narration of excerpts of Lincoln's great documents, including the Gettysburg Address. “Lincoln Portrait” was written by Copland as part of the World War II patriotic war effort in 1942. Narrating the piece is Pavilion board member and Vice President and General Manager of FOX 26 and MY 20 D’Artagnan Bebel. Bebel, who has been in broadcasting for more than 25 years, serves on numerous boards and is in high demand as a keynote speaker for various community events.

Joining the symphony straight from the historic Cactus Theater in Lubbock, Texas, are The Cactus Cuties, a musical group made up of Baylee Barrett, Blaire Elbert, Andi Kitten and Madeline Powell who range in age from 9 to 14. Despite their youth, The Cactus Cuties are already seasoned veterans. They have delighted audiences for years with their beautiful harmony and charismatic presence. Their arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” garnered 5 million hits on YouTube in only three months, touching hearts all over the world.

The Cuties made their television debut in April 2008 with a guest role on Disney Channel’s “Cory in the House,” and have since been featured on "The 700 Club," "The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon," and numerous appearances across the country. On July 3, the quartet performs “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” a cappella. They are joined by the symphony for “The Rockin’ It Old School Medley” and “Children of America.”

Starting at 6:30 p.m., the Fidelity Investments Plaza is open for an array of free patriotic activities for the entire family. Children can meet Uncle Sam and have their picture taken with Puffy Pine Cone while parents register to win Tommy Bahama’s “Best Seats in the House.” American flags and hand-held fans also are available to guests enjoying the show, while supplies last.

Lord Stirling’s Fifes and Drums kicks off the evening’s activities from 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. performing early-American military “field music” in the plaza. Fifers and drummers typically played during marches, battles and various camp duty calls that regulated soldiers’ lives. Lord Stirling's Fifes and Drums was founded by Professor Craig Livingston in 2007 at Lone Star College-Montgomery. The corps honors Lord Stirling, a former British officer who in 1776 commanded troops of the Continental Army. At the Battle of Long Island, the Marylanders of Stirling's Brigade counter-attacked advancing redcoats. Stirling lost more than 250 men, but their sacrifice allowed the battered American Army to withdraw. The fifers and drummers wear the uniform of the 4th Maryland Independent Company. The clothing warrant called for purple dyed-linen hunting shirts and cocked tricorns.
Carrying on the American tradition, the evening ends with cannons trumpeting from atop the hill and a spectacular fireworks display in celebration of the Star-Spangled Salute’s 20th anniversary. The fireworks are launched from the lawn plaza behind the hill and are best viewed from your seat.

Active, reserve and recently discharged service men and women are invited to the FREE Star-Spangled Salute where The Woodlands Development Company and The Pavilion will recognize them at the beginning of the concert for their dedication and service to our country. A specially-marked reserved section is available for these individuals and their families (up to four seats per person). Individuals are asked to RSVP by July 1 if they would like reserved seats by emailing [email protected]

Since the inception of the Star-Spangled Salute in 1990, this FREE patriotic event has been generously sponsored by The Woodlands Development Company. All seating is general admission.

Preferred parking is available in the on-site Town Center Garage, located along Six Pines Drive. Parking is $5 per vehicle for this and most performing arts events. Tickets for on-site parking can be purchased in advance at all Ticketmaster locations and The Pavilion Ticket Office. Guests also may park in any of the five free parking lots on the southwest side of The Pavilion. The free, color-coded lots are connected to The Pavilion by corresponding pathways with signs leading across The Waterway.

Admission is free for the Star-Spangled Salute and all seating is general admission. At the symphony, have a picnic in your seat or on the hill during the concert. Free lawn chairs also are available for this and other applicable performing arts events. Keep in mind that beverages cannot be brought into The Pavilion.

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion's 20th Performing Arts Season is presented by The Woodlands Development Company and sponsored by Donoho’s Jewellers, Audi of America, the Community Associations of The Woodlands, Houston Community Newspapers, The Pavilion Partners, The Wortham Foundation, and Continental Airlines, official airline of The Pavilion.

If you would like more information about The Pavilion and its 20th Performing Arts Season, please visit or look for The Pavilion on MySpace and Facebook.

Performing Arts Season Generously Sponsored By

Sponsors | Live Nation Sponsors / Huntsman Sponsors | The Howard Hughes Company Sponsors | Pepsi Sponsors | Texas Children's Hospital Sponsors | The Wortham Foundation Sponsors | Woodlands Township Sponsors | Pavilion Partners Sponsors | Woodforest Naitonal Bank Sponsors | Aramark Sponsors | Xfinity Sponsors | Sewell

Live Nation Venue Sponsors

Sponsors | Live Nation Sponsors / Huntsman Sponsors | Pepsi Sponsors | Woodforest Naitonal Bank Sponsors | Xfinity Sponsors | Citi Sponsors | Bud Light Sponsors | Saint Arnold Brewing Company Sponsors | Nissan