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Mariposa Symphony Orchestra's Independence Day Spectacular

MARIPOSA – Though Tchaikovsky’s monumental “1812 Overture” has been performed by the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra in the past, there will be one big difference this year at the orchestra’s “Independence Day Spectacular!” Concert – the recorded sound of actual cannons.

The concert will be held Saturday, July 5, at 7 p.m. at the Amphitheatre at Mariposa County Park, with the orchestra led by MSO Founder and Conductor Les Marsden.

The famed 1880 musical work was conceived for outdoor performances with 16 cannon shots included at specific spots in the score by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The piece has become (nearly) required programming for American Independence Day concerts over the past 50 years, but the composer’s performance intention was never realized during his lifetime.

Most concert performances of the work since its 1882 premiere simply use a large drum or other artificial mechanical effects, with actual live cannons a relative rarity. In the digital age however, recorded cannons have become a safe and authentic representation of the sound, if not the visual spectacle of large artillery.

The MSO’s past performances have utilized a synthesized keyboard approximation of a percussive cannon-like effect, but for the first time, digitally-recorded actual cannon blasts will be experienced by concert attendees.

In addition to celebrating America’s 238th birthday, the concert will offer an early commemoration of the bicentennial of the American national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner,” first published September 17, 1814.

The concert will also showcase the three winners of the 2014 Young Master Composers Celebration: 12-year-old Matt Kroeker, 13-year-old Makinna D. Dulcich and 18-year-old Emily Croft. The annual music education/music composition contest for Mariposa County residents aged 8 – 18 is a program of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra and parent organization the Mariposa County Arts Council. All three compositions will receive their world-premiere performances at the concert and other patriotic standards will be performed, including John Philip Sousa’s Stars & Stripes Forever, Richard Rodgers’ Victory at Sea, the late Dr. Phil Smith’s Armed Forces Salute and Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s The Union.

Ticket prices for the concert are $6 for adults and $4 for students. Complete concert program notes will be found at http://tinyurl.com/MariposaSO

Preceding this year’s concert is a very special fundraising All-American Hot Dog dinner from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the Amphitheatre. Benefits from that dinner will fund the Mariposa County Arts Council’s Summer Youth Art programs.

Dinner tickets (including admission to the concert) are $17 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under and must be purchased in advance. Tickets for the concert only, at $6 and $4, may be purchased in advance or at the door. Information and tickets are available by calling the Arts Council at (209) 966-3155 or by visiting their website – http://www.mariposaartscouncil.org/

(Photo included in this article is the actual 15-star United States garrison flag which flew over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814, and which inspired Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defence of Ft M’Henry”(sic) which became better-known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The battle- and time-marked 30′ x 34′ remainder of the once-30′ x 42′ flag is on display in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of that institution.)

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