The other night I was thinking about famous couples I’d like to have over for a dinner party. JFK and Jackie made the list, so did Harry and Meghan. But the couple I thought would be the biggest hit at my virtual bash was Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler from CBSs’ The Big Bang Theory. The socially awkward theoretical physicist and the needy, nerdy neurologist have not only had the quirkiest courtship in television history, they’ve also had the funniest. That’s the stuff that sparks dinner conversations.
I love the Fun with Flags episodes the most. The couple’s low-budget YouTube podcast is their offbeat forum to share their love for vexillology. Although they probably have a fan base of one, nothing curbs their flag enthusiasm. In the Bavarian flag episode, Sheldon dressed in lederhosen, while Amy showed up as a giant pretzel. In a salute to Colonial America, Sheldon portrayed a befuddled Betsy Ross. When they went Down Under, Amy hopped into the podcast in a Kangaroo suit and pulled the Australian flag out of her pouch. The time Fun with Flags wasn’t so fun was when Sheldon set up a giant domino display for a 4th of July flag spectacular and found out Amy hadn’t hit the record button.
The Phil has its own spectacular 4th of July, celebration. Music. Fireworks. Special guests. Thousands of new and old Phil fans fill the waterfront. Talk about a domino effect! This fabulous free-for-all kicks off the season with a very big bang indeed.
Like Sheldon and Amy, we put a lot of thought and enthusiasm into our “musical podcast.” However, this isn’t a low-budget production. It costs about $50,000 to produce; the bulk of the expenses relate to hiring the musicians, staging, sound, bus transport--and portable potties! (If 55 musicians had to queue up for public restrooms during intermission, they’d never make it back for the second act!) The free event is made possible by two funds that have been around for a long time: the Esther & Alcide Ruffini Charitable Trust and the James Spooner Trust. Both trusts mandate the revenue must be used to present free concerts for the people of Plymouth. (Talk about a musical legacy!)
For years, the funds produced enough income for the Phil to perform every other year. In 2015, we approached the Town of Plymouth’s Visitors Services Board and asked for funding to make live symphonic music part of every Independence Day celebration. The VSB said absolutely yes! and has funded the shortfall ever since. Thanks to these Phil supporters, this is our fourth year in a row making music along the waterfront. And, if our funding continues, we’ll celebrate the holiday together every year to come.
This is also our 103rd season of making music in the concert hall and the start of another big celebration: Steven Karidoyanes' Silver Anniversary on the Phil podium. Knowing what he’s got planned, I’ve come up with my own big bang theory: the musical fireworks are just beginning!