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Although it was still exactly one week until the official Fourth holiday, you’d never have guessed it at the Sertoma Amphitheatre in Cary’s Bond Park. There, on as fine a Saturday evening as you ever saw, Music Director Tony Granados and the Triangle Brass Band dusted off a dozen favorites guaranteed to bring a patriotic glow to the countenance of even the most jaded attendee.
After the National Anthem, the group led off with the lively “Liberty Fanfare,” a Steve Sykes arrangement of John Williams’ 1986 piece celebrating the first hundred years of the Statue of Liberty. Then proper and obligatory homage was paid to the great eminence of band music, John Philip Sousa. His “King Cotton” march was shortly followed by “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.” He eventually obtained last-tag status as the band chose his “Stars and Stripes Forever” for an encore with crowd participation.
You probably had never thought of all the creative variations that could be visited upon “All Those Endearing Young Charms.” Euphonium soloist John Jones has discovered quite a few. The tutti opening of this old Irish song was at first unrecognizable in this David R. Wilson arrangement. Jones then came on with the familiar theme played straight, followed by stylized themes and variations that demonstrated his considerable skills on that mellow “tenor tuba.”
James Curnow has composed “JFK: In Memoriam,” a work much in the mold of Copland’s tribute to Abraham Lincoln. Guest narrator Greg Fishel provided a powerful account of the readings comprising four of Kennedy’s more noted sayings. Opening and closing statements are the same, a general paean to JFK serving as a preface and a coda of sorts. The work is huge and percussive, with the quiet passages accompanying declarations on space exploration, civil rights, support of the arts, and his oft-quoted “Let the word go forth...” tribute to liberty.
Curnow also was the arranger of Scott Joplin’s “Ragtime for Horns,” a jumping "Maple Leaf Rag" that gave the four tenorhorns their moments to shine.
Several other selections of similar stripe were advanced, crowd pleasers all. There was “On the Mall March” for the audience to whistle. Also such goodies as “Armed Forces Salute” and “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.” The Cary Community Foundation, the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival, and the Town of Cary are all to be praised for their sponsorship of this fine (and free) event. There is a bit of irony in the fact that quintessentially American music and British bands prove so compatible.
The TBB's next Sertoma concert will be on July 18. See our calendar for details.