Last year on Labor Day, if you wanted to hear “1812 Overture,” you had to stand in your backyard and hum it.
This year, Spokane’s longtime Labor Day tradition has been restored. The Spokane Symphony will once again play its free concert at Comstock Park, thanks to a grant from Sterling Savings Bank.
The symphony will also play its annual Liberty Lake concert on Saturday at 6 p.m. Both concerts will feature the same program, a mix of classics and pops conducted by Music Director Eckart Preu.
This year, you’ll even hear some Michael Jackson music. The orchestra will open the second half of the show with Jackson’s “Thriller,” although the kind of “Thriller” played by 60-plus instruments.
Also on the pops side, you’ll hear music from John Williams’ “Raiders of the Lost Ark” score and a “symphonic portrait” of Irving Berlin.
Light classics will fill out most of the evening. The first half will include Glinka’s Overture to “Russlan and Ludmilla,” Bizet’s first movement of his First Symphony and Grieg’s “Triumphal March.”
The second half will include Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances and Suppe’s Overture to “Poet and Peasant.”
The traditional crowd-pleasers will also be in evidence: “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Stars and Stripes Forever” and, of course, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
For those who are out of practice, here are a few hints about how best to enjoy the Comstock concert: Show up an hour or two early if you want to be near the stage. Stake out some lawn space and bring a picnic to enjoy before the concert starts. Bring your own lawn chairs – the low kind if you want to be up close.
By the way, this Labor Day tradition should be safe for a while. The Sterling Savings Bank donation was a three-year grant. The bank called it a “gift to the community.”
A “Season Arts Preview” with booths by various local arts-related organizations will precede Monday’s concert starting at 4 p.m.