CONCORD -- After 25 years of delighting crowds during the Fourth of July holiday, the one-of-a-kind "Singing Flag" show has come to an end.
Since 1989, Calvary Temple Church in Concord has put on the popular three-day event at Dave Brubeck Park. The celebration drew thousands of people from throughout the area for fireworks and a two-hour variety show that promoted patriotism, celebrated the Founding Fathers and honored the military. The iconic "Singing Flag" -- a giant flag stage set filled by more than 65 members of the church choir -- was a highlight of the annual show.
"This decision is truly bittersweet," said Linda Reynolds, performing arts director at Calvary Temple. "But we are grateful for the incredible 25 years that we were privileged to present the flag, and we know that there are many exciting opportunities just ahead."
Reynolds said the church will focus its resources on providing services to the community such as an April 5 event that will include free groceries, dental and eye exams, haircuts and activities for children.
"We would personally like to thank you for your support, your attendance and your friendship that you have showed toward Calvary Temple Church, the singing flag and our community," Reynolds told City Council members at their Tuesday night meeting.
Reynolds' announcement was met with surprise and sadness.
"It's a big loss, obviously, in our community because it's really something that's defined, I think, Concord," said Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister. "You guys have really been able to define Concord over that holiday weekend of July Fourth, and it's going to be sorely missed.
"It's been a beautiful gift, and we thank you very, very much for that," Hoffmeister said.
Church members spent seven months preparing for the annual event, which included about 250 performers and several hundred volunteers. Calvary Temple covered the thousands of dollars it cost to put on the free show with donations, fundraisers, concessions sales and program advertising, Reynolds said.
Richmond, Martinez, Pittsburg and Antioch still have Fourth of July fireworks shows.
Concord Councilmen Ron Leone and Edi Birsan expressed hope that another group will step forward and partner with the city to provide Independence Day festivities.
"One of the nicest things about it is it brought the community together. So it's going to be well missed," Leone said Tuesday. "But thank you for what you've done, and thanks for your continued support in the community."
By Wednesday afternoon, the Todos Santos Business Association Arts Foundation had launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website crowdtilt.com to raise $15,000 to add fireworks to the traditional downtown Fourth of July 5K run and parade.
Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.
The Todos Santos Business Association Arts Foundation is trying to raise $15,000 to put on a Fourth of July fireworks show downtown. To donate, visit crowdtilt.com/campaigns/save-concords-4th-of-july-fireworks/description. For more information, call foundation President Tim McGallian at 925-695-7268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.