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Happy Fourth: My 2024 Imagined Concert Program

Every year I devote one blog post to an imagined concert program for the Fourth of July. This year might be a bit more unusual but I wanted to think about works that cover the last 100 years or so, especially since this is the anniversary of Paul Whiteman's historic Aeolian Hall concert. I didn't want to recreate that, but thought it would be fun to have a few pieces from that program included as well. So there is a decidedly jazzier feel to the second half with its more popular music.

Four pieces will be the focus of the first half of the program. First up, Dudley Buck's Festival Overture on "The Star-Spangled Banner". I know, I tend to put this on all my "wishlist" 7/4 programs but honestly why this is not a standard for pops programs is beyond me. Then we will switch gears a bit with a work celebrating its 25th anniversary, Michael Daugherty's delightful Sunset Strip. We will switch gears a bit to close things off with nods to our current world conflicts starting with Quincy Porter's moving Ukrainian Suite for strings. And then we will conclude this half with John Williams' Song for World Peace.

The second half will feature some more familiar tunes with a couple little surprises. We start with a lesser known Sousa piece from 1924, the Peaches and Cream Foxtrot. Then a couple solo trumpet highlights starting with Leroy Anderson's A Trumpeter's Lullaby (75 years old for this classic!) and then the noir-ish theme from Jerry Goldsmith's Chinatown released 50 years ago! An arrangement of Edward MacDowell's To A Wild Rose begins the segment celebrating music from the Paul Whiteman concert which of course is followed by Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. To celebrate the Henry Mancini centenary, three selections. First the theme from Charade followed by "Moon River". The march from his score for The Great Waldo Pepper will get us back to the rousing conclusion. Then we will conclude with Irving Berling's Alexander's Ragtime Band and the "encore" being Sousa's Stars and Striped Forever.

I managed to create a Spotify playlist--though the Porter is not available so you'll need to go to YouTube to enjoy that:


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