Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale Pops concert salutes America

By Karen Greer
For the Journal Inquirer
June 7, 2012

MANCHESTER — Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale’s Pops concert on Saturday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Manchester Community College will be a musical portrait of America, from the founding fathers to the silver screen.

In A Salute to America, MSOC explores a whole range of American music, with a program that includes not only patriotic songs and marches, but also light orchestral favorites by Leroy Anderson and music from the movies and Broadway.

As great American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein observed, “There are as many sides to American music as there are to the American people — Our great, varied, many-sided democracy.”

Where else but America could the son of Swedish immigrants compose a popular hit song for a classical orchestra inspired by African-American jazz? That’s just what Leroy Anderson did with his “Jazz Pizzicato.”

In “Jazz Pizzicato,” instead of using a bow, the orchestra’s string players pluck their strings like a jazz upright bass player. Violinist Jody Danielson says, “String players rarely get to put their bows down and play jazzy music in the same piece — we have a lot of fun with this one.”

When the Founding Fathers laid their plans for a nation, they couldn’t have foreseen how those plans would shape its cultural identity. Their goals included life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even then, they knew that the inhabitants needed not only political liberty, but the freedom to express themselves.

The chorale will perform “Testament of Freedom,” composed by Randall Thompson in 1943, at the height of World War II. The first performance of this dramatic setting of four passages from the writings of Thomas Jefferson was broadcast nationwide and later to the troops overseas. Jefferson’s words are as visionary today as they were then.

Throughout America’s history, music brought the people together as they worked, prayed, danced, and marched into battle. The orchestra, chorale, and audience will join together in the rousing “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Another son of immigrants, John Philip Sousa, rose to fame as the leader of a military band. His energetic marches can now be heard from the circus tent to the concert hall, and on this program is his famous “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The music of America grew along with the nation, as the young country expanded from sea to shining sea, and beyond, even into outer space. Its boundless imagination was captured in the panoramic musical scores of films like “Star Wars” and “E.T., the Extraterrestrial.”

This Pops concert is the final concert of MSOC’s 52nd season and part of Pride in Manchester Week. For more information on Pride in Manchester events, visit:

Tickets can be purchased at the door. Prices are $18; $15 for seniors and students; free for 18 and younger. For more information, e-mail MusicSix [at], call 860-646-0047, or visit: