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Lisa Denton and Barry Courter

LISA DENTON: Barry, if you've been hearing more snap, crackle and pop in the evenings, it's not your breakfast cereal moonlighting or the symphony your knees make when you stand up. Nope, that's the sound of fireworks. And as we say up Soddy way, "Yee-ha!" It's almost the Fourth of July.

BARRY COURTER: I was thinking of heading up your way on the Fourth. I hear there are people there who welcome almost anybody. Even Yankees, and by that I mean people from even farther up north in the county. That's why we draw lines on things, right?

There are so many opportunities to see things go bang, I mean celebrate, this year all over the region, and once again, our own Susan Pierce went the extra mile in putting together a comprehensive list of where those things are. For my money, which is to say free, I'm looking forward to this year's Pops on the River.

LISA: Pops on the River is always a treat. This year, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will be highlighting works by three local composers: Douglas Hedwig, Tim Hinck and Jonathan McNair. Interestingly, immigration is a theme — America as the great melting pot.

BARRY: And they landed on those themes independently, by the way. I spoke with Kayoko Dan about her goals for the pieces, and she had some specific parameters about the fanfare works, but not theme or content. But kudos to her on so many levels for these works. And to the composers, of course. All of these guys are producing works being played around the world, and Dan is doing her level best to make that known.

She is celebrating living composers, local composers, new art and, of course, our wonderful symphony. The ultimate goal is to have these pieces become part of future celebrations such as the one on Wednesday. We tend to make light of a thing or two in this space, but this is really cool. Bravo.

LISA: Yes, we have been known to not pay the proper respect, like the time we heard from songwriter Randy Brooks when I wrote I wasn't particularly fond of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." If it's any consolation to Randy, that song has become one of the grandson's favorites, and he wants to listen to it All. Year. Long. So Randy gets the last laugh on that.

I haven't heard the works by the local composers yet, but I predict they'll be a hit with the crowd Wednesday night. Oh, that's one thing we should stress. The patriotic concerts by the CSO at Coolidge Park and the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra at Veterans Memorial Park in Collegedale are both on Wednesday. And you can also see fireworks at Camp Columbus in Hixson and Barnhardt Circle in Fort Oglethorpe the same night.

Then Thursday, there'll be even more places with burgers and barbecue and things that go boom in the night.

BARRY: Now, what day and time will the burgers be served and when is the sparkle-show-in-the-sky thing happening again?

LISA: That'll be Thursday at my house. The party is BYOPS — bring your own paint scraper. I'm trying to get some chores done while I'm off.

BARRY: Oh wait, that's my shampoo day. Or is it set day? Either way, dang.

Get event information every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.