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Orchestra salutes patriotism during winter concert

Songs played during three performances will take listeners on musical tour of American history.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001

Conductor Wayne Raymond plans an extravaganza of Americana for the Hernando Symphony Orchestra's winter concerts.

Titled "God Bless America," the three performances are a tribute to our country and those who have made it great, he said.

"I've chosen kind of a history of the U.S.," said Raymond, who is in his second year as the orchestra's leader. "We'll hit just about everything, and there is some really beautiful stuff."

Grand American Fantasia, a medley of songs of the North and South, takes the audience through the Civil War years, and the medley American Frontier features Shanandoah, Oh Susanna and America the Beautiful.

There is also a salute to New York and a medley of Claude-Michel Schonberg's music from Miss Saigon

"That one is a biggie," Raymond said of th 1991 Broadway hit. "The music is very potent. That show has become so big and easily recognizable. It has some guts to it."

Spring Hill vocalist Irv Clark will perform This is My Country, God Bless America and God Bless the U.S.A. with the orchestra.

"Anything patriotic appeals to me," said Clark, who performed about half a dozen times with the orchestra under the direction of the group's original conductor, Marvin Rosenberg, nearly a decade ago. "I'm a gung-ho American."

Performing with an orchestra is much different than singing along with piano accompanyment, Clark said.

"You have to be in sync with the conductor when 60 pieces all start playing their parts," he said. "All you can do is watch your entrances and endings and pray all goes well in between."

Performances will be at 2 p.m. Sunday and at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Springstead High School, 3300 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill, and at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Hernando High School Performing Arts Center, 700 Bell Ave., Brooksville. Sunday's performance is sold out and tickets are limited for Tuesday's show. Tickets are $9. For information and availability, call 688-3736, 686-5334 or 799-8507.

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