Anne Arundel County's Cultural Arts Foundation dubs Saturday's July Fourth celebration "the biggest and best open-air concert of the year." In terms of music, talent and attendance, the claim seems likely to be justified.
In its first year -- 1996 -- the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Star-Spangled Celebration attracted more than 4,000 people to the event, held at Anne Arundel Community College. Last year, 6,000 came. County officials say up to 8,000 may gather at Saturday's celebration, scheduled from 5: 30 p.m. to 10 p.m. to mark Independence Day early with music and fireworks.
We are lucky to have one of the world's great orchestras at nearby Meyerhoff Hall in Baltimore. Anne Arundel countians rank third among single-ticket purchasers and fourth among BSO subscribers. County youngsters are prominent in BSO's Side by Side program for talented young musicians. The BSO used to offer two concerts each season in Severna Park but had not come to the county for six years before its 1996 Star-Spangled Celebration.
Starting at 8: 15 p.m., conductor Daniel Hege and the symphony orchestra will play mostly American music, including a patriotic sing-along, marches, works by Aaron Copland, and such Richard Rodgers favorites as "Victory at Sea," "The Sound of Music" and "South Pacific." Fireworks will be set off to Tchaikovsky's "Overture: 1812."
Local talent will be showcased starting at 5: 30 p.m. with the Crabtowne Big Band, featuring female vocalist Melody McNerney and drummer-vocalist Nick Pastelak. The Crabtowne Big Band will open the program and do a second set about 7: 15 p.m. It will play Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Glenn Miller classics and contemporary tunes.
J. Ernest Green's Annapolis Chorale celebrates its 25th season, and has sung everything from Gorecki to Gershwin. On Saturday, the chorale will do show tunes by Cole Porter and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Other music on the program will include the Annapolis Vocal Corps, a seven-member a cappella group offering classic American songs, and the 50 voices of Sons of the Severn.
The concert is free, but donations to benefit cultural arts groups will be accepted at the gate. The rain date is Sunday.
Information: Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, 410-222-7949, or e-mail at artsfdol.com.
Pub Date: 6/25/98