Orlando International Airport’s Liberty Weekend concert was held in a new location on Saturday night. The free patriotic concert, featuring the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, took place at Terminal C, the airport’s newest terminal, instead of the Atrium at Terminals A & B, where is has taken place for decades.

In addition to the concert, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority presented the annual Colonel Joe Kittinger Award, named after the late local icon of military aviation. The award honors a local military member who exemplifies excellence in aviation and community service. This year, the honor was awarded to Captain Steve Nakagawa, USN, Retired.

“This event is part of our Strategic Plan, which focuses on engaging the community, and is a thank you to the traveling public at large,” said GOAA CEO Kevin J. Thibault during his remarks. “It is also a recognition of the many freedoms we enjoy. We owe a debt of gratitude to servicemembers like Captain Nakagawa, who wore the uniform and bravely fought to protect our nation throughout the years.”

“Liberty Weekend has evolved through the years, but it still embraces the people who make Central Florida unique and a wonderful place to visit, raise a family, start a business, or call home,” added GOAA Board Chairman Tim Weisheyer. “It is a very meaningful event that allows us to pay tribute to a local veteran who has devoted his life to serving our country and our community.”

Nakagawa served 28 years in the armed forces, including six deployments overseas, and has flown more than 20 different military and civilian aircraft. He currently serves as the Cenfluence Program Director for the Florida High Tech Corridor, a 23-county economic development organization.

Under the expert direction of Maestro Chris Confessore, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra transformed Terminal C into a vibrant concert hall, delighting the audience with an array of patriotic melodies and a captivating medley of Broadway hits. The evening’s festivities commenced with the Central Florida Community Arts Choir, whose members enchanted the crowd with their renditions of traditional music, setting a perfect prelude to the Philharmonic’s performance.