Considering that it was Maestro Barry Tuckwell's final performance at the Antietam Battlefield, there was a bit of sadness surrounding the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's 12th annual Salute to Independence July 5. But the near-perfect weather and the stirring patriotic music played by the symphony seemed to cancel out any regret felt by the more than 30,000 who attended.
We note all of this almost a week after the event because after more than a decade of concerts, those who attend may get the idea that it's a simple show to put on. It isn't. The flawless presentation is the result of months and months of planning, during which every aspect of the event, from the sound system's wiring to the number of dumpsters needed, is checked and re-checked.
It also requires major funding from local corporate sponsors, including F&M Bank, Antietam Cable, The Herald-Mail, Washington County's Gaming Commission and the National Park Service. It involves the dedication of 70 musicians who must sometimes play in less-than-ideal conditions. And it necessitates a crew of technicians, crowd-control specialists and volunteers.