By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,768)
Soprano Suzanne Nance and the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums are this year’s headliners for the Fifth Annual Fourth of July Stars & Stripes Spectacular on the Eastern Promenade organizers announced this morning at a breakfast at Ocean Gateway Terminal on the Portland Waterfront. Both performances are sure to create a buzz all around the area and once again draw revelers from far and wide. This year the Fourth falls on a Friday, so large crowds are expected. The rain date is Saturday, July 5th.
This will be the fifth year that the non-profit has organized the free event on the Eastern Promenade. In the spring of 2010, because of budget cuts, the City of Portland was forced to cut funds for the popular event that draws around 50,000 people to the area. Jon Jennings stepped in and organized a group of businessmen to come up with a plan to ensure the Fourth of July Fireworks would continue. That first year, Suzanne Nance, who was then musical director of Maine Public Radio and has since moved on, wowed the captivated crowd with her renditions of “Summertime,” “I Could Have Danced All Night” and an “Armed Forces Salute.”
Joining Nance this year will be the “Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums,” from the Boston area. Not only will they create a historical atmosphere, but it will add a lot of fun to the night’s celebration. The thirty-five member group will march up Congress Street to the Eastern Promenade said Jon Jennings where they will participate in the celebration. This performance is sure to cap a most festive evening creating amazing memories for all those who attend.
Maestro Robert Moody recounted how the Portland Symphony Orchestra became involved in this Spectacular. Previously, the PSO held a Fourth concert at Cape Elizabeth. It ended before the Spectacular came into being. It provided a natural opportunity for the PSO to come to Munjoy Hill and it has been here since. Moody recalled this morning what a thrill it was for him to conduct Don McLean performing his legendary “American Pie” – last year’s entertainer. Moody said that the traditional music will be played again including Sousa’s Marches and the 1812 Overture. There will be a special reading of the poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” by Moody set to music directed by the PSO’s assistant conductor, Norman Huynk, a Munjoy Hill resident, with his wife, Rachel.
And as for Don McLean – who knows – maybe he will return sometime in the future just like the popular Suzanne Nance is doing!
Individual seats and tables include: premium seating in front of the concert stage, transportation to and from the event via Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and a traditional Americana BBQ Dinner with cash bar.
Please visit www.july4thportland.org for more information.