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Pamela Vanderveer serving as Aaron Copland's page turner in performance at the Bing Theatre, Beverly Hills in 1980 - photo courtesy MSO

Mariposa Symphony Orchestra’s Independence Day Spectacular

MARIPOSA — The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra’s annual “Independence Day Spectacular!” concert will be held on Saturday, July 1, at 7 p.m. in the Mariposa County Park Amphitheatre, located at 4998 County Park Road in Mariposa.

The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is a program of the Mariposa County Arts Council, and the MSO’s Founder and Music Director Les Marsden will conduct the concert.

The centerpiece of the MSO’s closing concert of its 15th season is Aaron Copland’s paean to down-home, rural Americana: his 1944 Appalachian Spring.

Considered Copland’s greatest ballet score, Appalachian Spring is notable for popularizing the Shaker dancing song “Simple Gifts,” which Copland plucked from a century of near-obscurity and turned into a universally-known and loved tune.

The concert will also feature the rousing Festival Overture on the American National Air by Dudley Buck and five marches by America’s “March King” John Philip Sousa, as well as popular marches and Americana by other composers.

The annual MSO “Independence Day Spectacular!” concert is billed as “Mariposa’s own version of the Hollywood Bowl,” with patrons invited to dine at one of the town’s many fine restaurants or to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy on the lawn. The music is performed as the evening cools and the stars come out, in an old-fashioned celebration of America’s birthday.

The concert is never held on July 4th out of respect for the many other fine area events held on that date – and in order that the volunteer musicians of the orchestra can enjoy the actual holiday with their friends and family.

There is a very special link between one Mariposa Symphony Orchestra musician and Aaron Copland. In 1980, the 80-year-old composer was in residence at Cal Arts, and MSO Keyboardist Pam Vanderveer was evaluated by Copland in her performance of his own piano work. She was later asked to serve as his page-turner when the famed composer performed on the piano at the Bing Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Copland accompanied a soprano in his own “Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson” and Vanderveer noted of the experience, “I was fortunate to rehearse several times with Aaron and the soprano, and was also at the performance on stage with him. It was wonderful! He was such a beautiful man, nice, gentle, and sweet to me. I already loved him, but after that, he would forever be my favorite composer, for life!”

Copland’s music has been featured in past July MSO concerts to great popular acclaim.

General admission tickets for the MSO’s July 1st Independence Day Spectacular! concert are $10 for adults and $6 for students, with special discounted rates for Mariposa County Arts Council members.

Full concert information is available at the Arts Council’s MSO Page: http://tinyurl.com/MariposaSO and a link for secure online ticket purchase will be found on that MSO page.

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