Mountain music concerts kick off with air force band

June 16, 2005|by TONY BUDNY

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - History, especially military history, surrounds the Harpers Ferry region. The U.S. Armory and Arsenal produced and stored military supplies for a young United States, before the Civil War.

Military heritage will echo through the mountains Saturday, June 18, as the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Harpers Ferry/Bolivar District Veterans Association present the first of three Music in the Mountains summer concerts.

The U.S. Air Force Concert band, the premier ensemble of the Air Force band, will be featured at the Cavalier Visitors Center at the Harpers Ferry park. Another ensemble, the Air Force band Silver Wings, opened the series in 2000.

Park Ranger Kim Biggs sees this concert series as having a larger purpose.

"This is a community outreach program. We want to tie visitors with the historical significance of Harpers Ferry," she said. "With the establishment of, for example, the U.S. armory here, it becomes a beautiful and natural tie-in.


"We also have a definite partnership with the Harpers Ferry/Bolivar Veterans Association. The veterans work hard, providing any support we need. You'll see them handing out flags and providing the parking services around the NHP."

The Harpers Ferry park always is an experience for eight-year band veteran and clarinet player Senior Master Sgt. Sandra Cox.

"I played the last few times the band played there," she said. "My husband and I always come early to hike and see the town. The crowd is always very patriotic."

Notable pieces tentatively featured in the Air Force Concert Band's program include John Philip Sousa's "Nobles of the Mystic Shrine March" and "Chimes of the Liberty March" by Edwin Franko Goldman.

The U.S. Air Force band was created in 1941. The band consists of eight unique music ensembles that perform a diverse spectrum of music, from country to rock to pop.

The Air Force Concert Band is the largest and best known of their music ensembles. It consists of 65 members and performs 100 concerts annually worldwide. The band is led by band manager and tubist Chief Master Sgt. William Porter.

The Saturday concert is the first in the series of summer concerts. The Army band Pershing's Own will perform Saturday, Aug. 6. The concert series will conclude with the Marine band Free Country on Saturday, Sept. 3.

If you go ...

What: Music in the Mountains featuring the U.S. Air Force Concert Band

When: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18

Where: The Cavalier Visitors Center at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Cost: Free. Bring chairs, blankets and a picnic basket.

For more information, call the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park at 1-304-535-6029.

The Herald-Mail Articles