PORTLAND — Portland’s fireworks display will not only go on this Fourth of July despite city budget cuts, it will be punctuated by the patriotic musical offerings of the Portland Symphony Orchestra.

A group of local business people who are privately funding Portland’s fireworks on the Eastern Promenade are expected to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Thursday to announce that a concert by the PSO will be part of the festivities.

The full orchestra – 60 to 70 members – will play about 90 minutes of patriotic tunes and Americana music before the first rocket is fired. Then the orchestra will play more heart-pounding music during the 40-minute fireworks show, said Robert Moody, music director of the PSO.

The concert will be free and simulcast on the radio stations of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Moody said.

“We’ll end (the pre-fireworks concert) with ‘The 1812 Overture,’ and that will signal the start of the fireworks,” Moody said today. “Then we’ll play ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ and John Philip Sousa marches as the fireworks go on. We are so excited to be a part of this.”

Because of a budget crunch, the PSO canceled its “Independence Pops” concerts last summer, ending a years-long tradition of the orchestra playing a series of outdoor Fourth of July concerts around southern Maine for an admission fee. Because of inclement weather and other factors, the shows were too great of a “financial risk” to continue, Moody said.

But the free PSO concert this July 4 will be funded by private money.

In early April, a group of local business people came forward to announce they would provide the $45,000 needed to put on the annual fireworks show after the city announced the fireworks would be canceled due to budget cuts.

The original group included: Jon Jennings, president and general manager of the Maine Red Claws NBA Development League basketball team; Jack Quirk, owner of Quirk Chevrolet; Michael Dubyak, chairman and chief executive officer of Wright Express; and Richard Connor, chief executive officer of MaineToday Media, which publishes The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Waterville Sentinel daily newspapers, the weekly Coastal Journal in Bath, and their respective Web sites.

Jennings said that when the group decided to fund the fireworks, they agreed to think of ways to “enhance” the celebration. Having the PSO provide the music was one of the first things they thought of, Jennings said.

And the PSO was glad to get involved.

“When we made the sad decision not to do the ‘Independence Pops’ last summer, this is exactly what we hoped for,” Moody said. “The community has come forward and said, ‘We value the fireworks as an iconic tradition, and we value the wonderful pops concerts on July 4 too.’ ”

Jennings would not say how much the PSO members will be paid, but he said more corporate backers of the fireworks event will be announced soon, and that the group continues to look for more. Individual donations to help fund the event are welcome as well.

The Fourth of July celebration on the Eastern Prom will be named “The Stars and Stripes Spectacular,” and the PSO’s performance will be titled “Patriotic Pops,” Jennings said.

The PSO will perform on a stage to be built at the upper parking lot on Cutter Street, which leads from the top of the Eastern Promenade down to the public boat launch and East End Beach. Tables seating 10 people each will be set up near the stage and sold for $1,000 per table, parking included, as a way to add to the fundraising effort.

At the press conference, to be held on the Eastern Promenade, Jennings said the group will talk about the formation of a foundation to oversee the fireworks going forward, the creation of a website for the event, continuing fundraising efforts and the city’s role in the event. Private funding will pay any costs incurred by the city during the event, such as traffic control and street closings, Jennings said.

Details such as access to the event, and when streets leading to the Eastern Promenade will be closed, are still being worked out, Jennings said.

Moody said concert details are being worked out as well, including whether or not any vocalists will perform with the orchestra. Moody expects to announce the PSO’s full musical program for the event on June 2.

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