BOSTON (CBS) – When Boston’s huge July 4th celebration kicks off on Thursday a dedicated and talented group of volunteers will be center stage. The Tanglewood Festival Chorus will wow the crowd with patriotic favorites, and this year will be special for 2 chorus members, one on stage, the other at home.
For the Kenney family this July 4th is bittersweet. Thom and Carrie Kenney are members of the renowned Tanglewood Festival Chorus, a group of singers who donate their time and talents to perform with the BSO and the Pops. But this year, Carrie will be the only Kenney on stage during the Independence Day concert. “This year I’m leaving for a deployment to Africa on the 6th of July, so I wanted to spend some extra time with my girls,” says Thom Kenney. The girls are 13 year old Marianne, and Caitlin, who is 11. “I think it’s pretty cool because he’s giving up something he likes to do for us. So I think that’s really nice,” says Caitlin.
This will be Thom’s second deployment as an Army Reserves Captain. The first was to Afghanistan. He came home from that one only a year ago. This time he’ll be in the Horn of Africa working on development projects. “I think it’s a little soon until he leaves again but, I don’t want to say it’s the worse thing because it’s also helping other people. So it’s not a bad thing,” says Marianne. So as Carrie rehearses for the big show, Thom and the kids are planning a quieter evening. “We’ll be sitting back relaxing with a little bit of barbecued food and watching on television to see her on stage,” says Thom.
For all of us, the concert will be performed with the Boston Marathon still fresh in our minds. Something especially true for the Kenneys. Thom finished his Marathon run just seconds before the first explosion. Carrie and the kids had been on Boylston St. to cheer him on. None was hurt. “After being in Afghanistan and after being part of IED attacks and my own vehicle getting blown up on a few different occasions, it was something that was familiar, but I couldn’t make the connection that it was actually happening,” says Thom. So when Carrie takes the stage on the 4th she’ll be excited and dedicated. “When events like this happen you can’t live in fear. You have to move on. This is something we always do. This is a tradition that we love, celebrating the 4th on the Esplanade, and you can’t let something like a tragedy stop that,” says Carrie.
You can see the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the rest of the concert on Thursday right here on WBZ-TV starting at 7pm. And don’t forget the fireworks!