We sat up front, well worth being that close to see the muscians, and perfect placement to watch the concluding fireworks. Of course it was a patriotic theme to the night. Selections from Francis Scott Key, Jerome Kern, Edwin Bagley, John Philip Sousa, Frederick Lowe, Charles Ives, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Tchaikovsky, and Irving Berlin.
There were two pieces that were very special to me. First, the Armed Forces Salute - this is where each of the songs of the Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, Airforce were played and those members of the audience that served were asked to stand and be recognized for their service. Wow, it was very powerful, solemn yet proud moment. One of our table guests stood up for the Army - WWII. My dad and brother, Mike were in the Navy. There was a moment for those that didn't return. For whatever reason that they decided to serve our country, thank you for your service, thank you for protecting our way of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
As for pursuit of happiness, mark down this name... Raymond H. Clark, III. His composition called "Cost of Combat" was premiered by the HSO last evening. What a treat for us and for this composer! To get to hear, 'for the first time', a new symphonic piece is a real treat for me. When I closed my eyes and listened, the music took me to the fields of battle, to the relief of winning, and the dawn before the storms of fighting. There were highs and lows, and overall made you feel good. It is a big piece, not long in time, but in how all the lines of music, notes for all the instruments come together to tell a story. Mr. Clark was in the audience and was asked to come to the stage and tell us about this piece and his future plans. An engaging chap, who told us that the music just came to him one night, and in less than a week, the composition was complete. What talent and the audience just loved him! By the way, he will continue to help out at Bloomfield High School when he can, but he's off to begin college this fall, yes... this musical genius is only eightteen years old. Ray - thank you for sharing.
Happy Birthday America!