"Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, singest of summer in full-throated ease," wrote John Keats in his "Ode to a Nightingale."
The great Romantic poet's sentiments seem remarkably attuned to the seasonal intentions of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, which announced a full-throated, two-concert outdoor summer series in celebration of two holidays.
As part of its 43rd concert season, the ASO will present a "Fourth of July Spectacular," complete with a fireworks display on July 3 at 8 p.m. at the Anne Arundel Community College Stadium in Arnold, and a 6 p.m. "Summer's End" Concert on Labor Day, Sept. 6, at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.
Both events will be free through underwriting by MIE Properties, Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks and Anne Arundel Community College.
"The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Summer Series will dramatically increase the visibility for the ASO throughout the greater Annapolis area," says Hunter F. Calloway, chairman of the orchestra's board of trustees in a prepared statement. "As a growing regional orchestra, the ASO needs to reach out and spread our message of memorable, professional-quality symphonic music in Anne Arundel County and beyond."
The July 3 concert will feature works from the popular, patriotic and classical repertoire highlighted by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, with artillery fire courtesy of the Maryland National Guard.
Conducting this colorful event will be Maj. Timothy Holtan, Department of the Army staff bands officer, who has administrative control of the 105 Army bands. A former music educator in Montana, Holtan has performed concerts in 35 states, Canada, Japan, the U.S.Virgin Islands and Europe.
The ASO's Labor Day concert will feature David Ott's bright, attractive Annapolis Overture, a curtain-raiser commissioned by the ASO in 1997 as part of a full-length program of classical, light-classical and popular fare.
Conducting that concert will be J. Ernest Green, music director of the Annapolis Chorale, who last conducted the ASO in a memorable performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's choral Requiem on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In addition to his duties with the Chorale, Green is music director of the Falls Church Orchestra of Virginia and director of music at Baltimore's Gilbert and Sullivan-oriented Young Victorian Theatre Company.
"Our goal is to attract huge crowds for this series," says Lee Streby, the ASO's new executive director. "We want to increase the visibility of the orchestra, as well as help make the summer holidays more memorable for everyone."