Wednesday, July 3, 2013

100 Percent Chance of the Spirit of 1776

I had the good fortune of performing at this year’s Rossini Festival, which happened on a rainy day in downtown Knoxville. The rain wasn’t the source of the good fortune, of course, rather it was witnessing the spirit of those who braved the wet to see our performance. Aside from the extension cord plug (for the PA system) falling into a puddle and shorting out after every other song, the performance really went well. Advice I was given to always keep a towel in my gig bag paid off. At another Rossini Festival, 2009, I believe, one of my bands played just prior to Keith Brown’s UT Jazz group. The jazzers had to cancel their show because there was a TORNADO WARNING. Rain has also accompanied the KSO on some of our outdoor concerts in Maryville and Morristown, but it did not deter very many people from attending.

I’m not even sure what will happen if it rains so hard that we can’t play. I remember, about 4 years ago, in the middle of the concert on the 4th, a big ol’ storm rolled in and we had to evacuate to the Knoxville Convention Center for about an hour while the storm passed. But when the clouds and rain cleared, there was a fine fireworks display and the Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture brought the house down, so to speak.

People pay hundreds of dollars to attend Bonnaroo and hear toxically loud music in the rain and mud. (And I bet they didn’t even play Rocky Top)! The smart money (which is to say, NO money- it’s a free concert) is on the KSO’s 29th annual Independence Day concert, starting at 8:00 at the World’s Fair Park South Lawn. Soprano (and KSO Director of Education and Community Partnerships) will sing music of Irving Berlin, Alfred Reed and Marvin Hamlisch, and several marches will raise the spirit. And trust me, hearing Peggy Stuart Coolidge’s Pioneer Dances will be the most pleasant musical surprise you have had in a while.

Bring an umbrella. And a raincoat. Because it did more than rain at Valley Forge.

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