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Meet the Performers in 'A Capitol Fourth'

Daniel Hautzinger
A Capitol Fourth with fireworks. Photo: Capital Concerts/Keith Lamond via Shutterstock
Photo: Capital Concerts/Keith Lamond via Shutterstock

For more than three decades, PBS has broadcast one of the biggest celebrations of Independence Day: A Capitol Fourth, which airs Tuesday, July 4 at 7:00 pm and is rebroadcast at 8:30 pm. This year the Washington, D.C. musical event and fireworks display is hosted by actor John Stamos. Meet some of the other performers here.

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys.The Beach Boys.Yes, they’re still around, 56 years after their formation. The only original member left is Mike Love, although Bruce Johnston has been with the group on and off since he replaced Brian Wilson in 1965. They are joined by Capitol Fourth John Stamos on drums and Mark McGrath of the band Sugar Ray on vocals.

The Blues Brothers

Jim Belushi and Dan Akroyd of The Blues Brothers.Jim Belushi and Dan Akroyd of The Blues Brothers.Begun in 1978 as a sketch on Saturday Night Live, the band was so popular that they released an album and, in 1980, the iconic movie taking place in Chicago. Originally fronted by John Belushi as Jake Blues and Dan Akroyd as his brother Elwood, it now features Akroyd and Jim Belushi, John Belushi’s brother. They’re joined by Sam Moore, whose “Soul Man” helped launch their recording career.

Kellie Pickler

Country singer Kellie Pickler.Kellie Pickler.Pickler first came to national notice as a finalist on the fifth season of American Idol, but she has since gained success as a country star, including with a song co-written with Taylor Swift. She returned to reality TV and won the sixteenth season of Dancing with the Stars in 2013.

The Four Tops

Soul group The Four Tops.The Four Tops. Yes, they’re also still around, and go back even further than The Beach Boys. Founded in 1953 as the Four Aims, they achieved fame as The Four Tops in the mid-sixties with hits like “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” on the Motown record label. Their line-up remained the same for 44 years, but now Abdul “Duke” Fakir is the only surviving founding member.

Trace Adkins

Country singer Trace Adkins.Trace Adkins.Adkins is a country singer with multiple number ones to his name and a recognizable deep voice. At A Capitol Fourth he salutes the armed forces with his new single, “Still a Soldier.”

Yolanda Adams

Gospel star Yolanda Adams.Yolanda Adams.Adams is a gospel singer who was named the number one Gospel Artist of the last decade by Billboard Magazine in 2009, while one of her albums was lauded as the best gospel album. She also hosted a nationally syndicated gospel show – she’s a huge part of the gospel world.  

Laura Osnes

Broadway star Laura Osnes.Laura Osnes.A Broadway star, Osnes has starred in Grease, South Pacific, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, for which she won a Drama Desk Award, and more. She’s currently in the new musical Bandstand, about veterans after World War II.

National Symphoy Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly

The National Symphony Orchestra at A Capitol Fourth.The National Symphony Orchestra at 'A Capitol Fourth.'Washington’s resident orchestra contributes a favorite moment of A Capitol Fourth: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, with live cannons. But they also honor another favorite this year, with a performance of music from Star Wars in honor of that film’s 40th anniversary. R2-D2 and C-3PO make guest appearances.