"It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of 'A Capitol Fourth,'" stated host Smits. "This year marks the show's 30th anniversary, a truly impressive milestone, and it continues to be a show of quality and distinction while saluting this great country of ours. The greatest fireworks lighting up our nation's capitol is a very moving and memorable experience. It is powerful and intimate all at the same time, bringing to the forefront what it is to be an American."
This 30th anniversary broadcast — live from the West Lawn of the United States Capitol — will feature performances by multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winning country music singer Reba McEntire, who made her Broadway bow in Annie Get Your Gun; country music sensation Darius Rucker (Hootie & the Blowfish); actor and singer John Schneider; as well as world-renowned classical pianist Lang Lang. Jack Everly will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra.
During the evening actress-singer McEntire will be presented with the National Artistic Achievement Award in recognition of her "dedication to enriching the national legacy of the performing arts as well as her lifetime of musical contributions." The three previous recipients of this honor include composer John Williams in 2003; Latin music legends and producing team Gloria and Emilio Estefan in 2005; and Motown icon Stevie Wonder in 2006.
A fireworks display will also be part of the TV coverage. In celebration of America's 234th birthday, the show will conclude with Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" complete with live cannon fire provided by The U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery. Also participating in the event will be The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, Members of the Armed Forces carrying the State and Territorial Flags and the Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.
The 90-minute program can also be heard live in stereo over NPR Member stations nationwide.