Bands swing, orchestra booms Concert: The third annual ** Star Spangled Celebration's patriotic fare included a touch of doo-wop, show tunes and powerful performances of classics.

July 02, 1998|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Concertgoers who braved Saturday's heat, humidity and threatening thunderstorms were doubly rewarded at the third annual Star Spangled Celebration at Anne Arundel Community College's Siegert Field.

In addition to hearing the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, they were treated to two hours of fine music supplied by four local groups: the Crabtowne Big Band, the Sons of the Severn, the Annapolis Chorale and the Annapolis Vocal Corps.

The local talent donated its time, some acts forgoing paying gigs in air-conditioned halls.

Leading off the entertainment was the the 17-piece Crabtowne Big Band, which also returned for a second set. "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" is the band's theme, and the Crabtowners played cool jazz and '40s favorites.

The Sons of the Severn, a 50-man a cappella chorus, sang patriotic songs with zest and harmony, ending in a rousing "God Bless America" that brought many listeners to their feet.

It was followed by the Annapolis Chorale under the direction of Ernest Green. The chorale sang a medley from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," followed by Cole Porter selections, wryly including "Too Darn Hot" from "Kiss Me Kate." Green promised to chase away the hovering dark clouds with Harold Arlen's "Stormy Weather," and amazingly, the clouds did vanish.

Annapolis Vocal Corps sang "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie," the Louis Jordan hit, Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" and Gus Kahn's "Dream a Little Dream of Me" with the smooth female duo and a doo-wop backup provided by the five male singers.

By the time the symphony appeared, the crowd had swelled to more than 5,000, including many young families. Conductor Daniel Hege opened with Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" for brass and percussion. Much of the program, like the fanfare, centered on World War II, including all three Richard Rodgers selections -- "Victory at Sea," "Sound of Music" (about Austria) and "South Pacific."

Hege asked those who served their country to stand when their song was played in the "Armed Forces Medley." It was lump-in-the-throat time as many white-haired veterans of World War II and Korea stood to the applause of a multigenerational audience. The mood was sustained as the crowd sang the medley, "Sing Out, America!"

Hege and the BSO all but own Tchaikovsky's "Overture: 1812," so expert is their performance of this masterwork that weaves the French and Russian national anthems into the music. Magnificent fireworks accompanied this and Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," which followed.

Those who made the evening possible include County Executive John G. Gary, Carol Trieber of the county's Cultural Arts Foundation and Ardath Cade, the county's human services officer. Corporate sponsors included A.J. Property Management, Dixie Printing and Packaging, H&S Bakery, Northrop Grumman and Safeway.

Mark Labor Day weekend on your calendar for the next outdoor concert. Annapolis Symphony's new music director, Leslie B. Dunner, will make his debut at these free concerts Sept. 5 at Downs Park and Sept. 6 at Quiet Waters Park.

Pub Date: 7/02/98

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