God Bless, America

30 JC BandMay 30, 2016 Linda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – From the Star Spangled Banner to the Stars and Stripes Forever; from the Star Spangled Banner again to God Bless America; my head is reeling with patriotic vibes as I exit the Missouri capitol and step out into the sun. I wish I had an interactive website so you could click an arrow and hear it all; I wish I had a recording so I could go straight to my room and listen to both concerts again. How can I describe? I was sitting in the First Christian Church at 1 PM, front row center, when Paul Hinman lifted his conductor’s baton and the Jefferson City Community Symphonic Band began to play. And I was sitting in the Capitol Rotunda at 3 PM, front row 30 JC Capitol 3right, when the Monticello Singers lifted their voices in song. It was definitely worth an 800-mile drive, I decided, so glad I had come. How many hours, I think, how many hours work went into the making of these concerts; how many inconveniences overcome? From the program listings I can count more than 50 in the Band; more than 20 in the Singers. Imagine the coordination required, the community support that has to come forth. God bless you everyone, as Tiny Tim would say. Good job! Let me tell you some of my favorites; things that overtopped the awesome chart.

30 JC Band SoldierThe Band Concert. Took my breath away: a sweeping rendition of Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair. I thought I knew the song; I was expecting an Appalachian folk sound; not so; it was huge, I had to close my eyes to take it all in. Jaw dropping: Mayflower Overture. From the Departure through the Storm to the Arrival in the New World, the orchestration was 30 JC Band childsplendid. I’m not a music critic, but I don’t have to be; I could feel the fear during the storm. Stand and salute: Duty, Honor, Country narrated by Sgt Major Jeremy Cobb, US Army; so dignified, and sure. Smile worthy: the little boy stepping onstage to chat with his pregnant mom during intermission.

30 JC Capitol 2The Singers Concert. Took my breath away: the setting itself! The magnificent art curving high overhead, the size of the room, the reverent feeling just being in the space invokes. Image stirring; Blades of Grass and Pure White Stones. Yes, this put me in mind of the cemetery, so beautiful in its simplicity. Stand and 30 JC Capitol Bill Stinesalute: A tie between Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the Battle Hymn of the Republic; reason and emotion intertwined. Smile worthy: finally meeting Bill Stine, a great promoter of Jefferson City, the Monticello Singers, and my website! Thank you Bill, for your kind words. And what better way to end a concert than to stand and belt out that Irving Berlin classic…from the mountains, to the prairie, to the ocean, white with foam….

My ears are still ringing. God bless, America.