A concert that was born on a 4th of July long ago

July 02, 1993|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing Writer

Recalling his youth in McKeesport, Pa., Mike Svec remembers July 4 as a day when it seemed the whole town gathered at the central square to celebrate America's birthday with music.

His Italian band director would lead Mr. Svec and his fellow musicians through the patriotic repertoire as the townspeople gathered in droves. "Those were the good, fun times," Mr. Svec )) says.

Small wonder that Mr. Svec grew up to be a band director and that this Sunday his community band -- the Bay Winds -- will present a Fourth of July concert at 1 p.m. at the Captain Avery House in Shady Side, down in South County.

From Broadway to George M. Cohan to the inevitable Sousa marches, the Bay Winds will honor the United States in fine musical style. First cornet Richard Sowell will be the soloist in "Variations on Columbia" and tuba player Ed Calhoun will rumble through "A Touch of Tuba." Eric Richards, conductor of the Anne Arundel Community College Concert Band, will assist Mr. Svec on the podium.

Nostalgia will definitely be in the air as a talented group of local actors presents "Annapolis Celebrations" at the Key Auditorium at St. John's College this weekend. Performances are tonight at 8 o'clock and tomorrow at 3 p.m.

"Annapolis Celebrations" is the long-awaited sequel to the wonderful oral history, "The Annapolis I Remember" that charmed its large audiences in 1990. "Celebrations" will recount how Annapolitans commemorated special occasions like the Fourth of July in days gone by.

And, speaking of days gone by, I'm conjuring up images of ice cream socials, barbershop quartets, marching bands and the like. Now, where have I encountered all these recently? Of course! What better way to celebrate the essence of Americana than with Meredith Willson's "The Music Man," which plays through this holiday weekend at the Summer Garden Theatre at the Annapolis City Dock. Call 268-0809 for ticket information.

If you're planning to beat the heat and the traffic by staying indoors all weekend, you still can celebrate the Fourth of July by picking up a recently released Delos compact disc titled "Portraits of Freedom." Aaron Copland's stirring "A Lincoln Portrait" has been narrated by everyone from actress Katharine Hepburn to retired Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, but this account -- performed by actor James Earl Jones and the Seattle Symphony under the direction of Gerard Schwartz -- is something special.

They say Lincoln had a squeaky, high-pitched voice, but on July 4 only the deep resonance of James Earl Jones will do.

Happy Birthday America!

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