Concert for Heroes

“Concert for Heroes” is the symphonic concert held at the Riverside National Cemetery and is the only show of its kind to be held in a national cemetery. Every July 3rd, before America celebrates its Independence Day, the Inland Empire/Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra performs a program of patriotic and popular classics held at the amphitheater located in the Riverside National Cemetery.

The inspiration for the Concert for Heroes came from the 1999 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention that was held in Riverside, CA. On day one a concert was used to kick-off the start of the convention. The concert was so well-received, a small committee was formed to make this an annual event to honor servicemen and women from the past and present.

The concert is modeled after the Famous Boston Pops Fourth of July concert celebration, although due to the “Concert for Heroes” at the Riverside National Cemetery, the music must be fitting to its location.

The concert welcomes its guests by first beginning with a pre-concert which can be either live or pre-recorded music. In the past, the “Concert for Heroes” has had a youth Fife and Drum Corps, barbershop quartet, youth chorale, a brass ensemble and a bluegrass group as pre-concert live music. Then the show is kicked off with a small fireworks display while the national anthem is performed.

The main show is divided into two parts. The first part, the Inland Empire/Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra performs exclusively patriotic and Americana music. The second part of the concert has a broad range of pieces, ranging from light musical performances to movie scores, to famous classical works. All pieces selected are used as a way to express liberty and freedom to move the audience. The concert ends with a show stopping firework display as “Stars and Stripes Forever” is played.

The concert is open to the public and is free to attend. The program begins at 6:30 P.M and should conclude by 9:30 P.M. Dress casually, no bare feet. People are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the concert under the stars.

e patriotic or Americana. Generally, the last piece of the first portion of the concert is the Service Medley. Following a break, generally, the first piece is one like Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Not only is this a beautiful piece of music, but it provides a wonderful aid to a presentation by which POWs and MIAs are remembered in a presentation which occurs during the playing of the piece. The second portion of the concert then proceeds through a series of pieces which may range from light musical to movie scores to great/classical works. Whatever the pieces selected, they must in some way express freedom and liberty, be moving, and fitting for both the event (CFH) and the setting (RNC).

Some of the world’s greatest music is performed. These works have included Beethoven’s Third Symphony (Eroica [Greek for Heroes]) and his Fifth Symphony which some have argued is the greatest musical work ever composed as well as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Each concert ends with the playing of John Philip Sousa’s,The Stars and Stripes Forever and a show of fireworks.