As I’m writing this, it has been about a week since the Patriotic Pops concert at Parkview Field on July 3. I guess it takes that long for the real meaning of an event to filter through the mind sometimes. But here are some great parts of that concert that will probably stay with people for quite some time.
First of all, it was a beautiful evening. Full sunshine, a cool breeze and hardly a cloud in the sky made for great seating in any area. The seats behind home plate were packed, and people had to hike all the way around to the outfield area to get a spot – some were even pitching blankets in the greenways. But that was OK – it was just the right weather. And the flip-down seats on the left field line are quite comfy.
Next, the music selections were excellent. Sameer Patel, the conductor, made great choices. What’s not to like about Sousa’s “Semper Fidelis,” or John Williams’ music from the “Lincoln” drama? The “Horse and Buggy” melody by Anderson was a new one to me – but the clip-clop sound in the rhythm blocks was exactly the sound of an Amish buggy passing by. And a final note on music – Adrian Mann did a beautiful job arranging American hymn tunes for “How Sweet the Sound.” For anyone familiar with American hymnology and a bit of history, it’s fascinating to listen to the thoughtful chords and harmonies of music that was new when the country was new.
Finally, the spirit of the people at this concert was amazing. When was the last time you heard someone sing the words to “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy?” Or how about “You’re a Grand Old Flag?” The fact that people were willing to sing along was moving. We stood up for “God Bless America,” in addition to standing for the National Anthem. And as the orchestra played through a variety of armed forces themes, different former and current members of the military stood. The big screen on the backfield flashed names of local military personnel, from the past and present.
Parkview Field has always been the place to go see baseball. But this concert was a nice change. Yes, the food vendors were working – and how good that grilled stuff smelled. And Johnny was there, as well as Uncle Sam on stilts. They were nice accompaniments to the event. From the seat on the outfield, it was a little hard to hear every note – I had to fill in with memories what parts of the tune didn’t quite make it out there. After I moved to a seat on the first base line, every note was clear. But the really special quality of the event was the spirit of partnership, of purpose, that the audience had. The music was the perfect bond for creating a good American celebration for the Fourth of July.