In ordinary years, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Salute to Independence concert at Antietam is an extraordinary event.
But this was an extraordinary year, which included a higher level of community involvement that made the 30th annual Salute all the sweeter.
This concert belonged to all of us.
Earlier this year, the MSO announced that the concert was in danger, because of sponsor withdrawals that left a gaping, $50,000 shortfall in revenue. The popular program pumps an estimated $800,000 into the local economy, but it costs about $230,000 to stage.
In one sense it's a pity that we so often seem to need an emergency in order to show our mettle. But when backs are shoved wallward, we can take pride in our community's ability to rise to the challenge.
True to form, with all hands pitching in, the needed $50,000 was raised and the show went on.
Along with the Western Maryland BluesFest, the Salute to Independence has become Washington County's signature event, and is a showcase for the county's rural heritage, its history and its mountainous beauty.
It's an event, in short, that produces far more than the sum of its parts, and one that we cannot afford to lose. We would hope that if the concert can survive these tough economic years, it will thrive when times are better.
In the meantime, we deeply thank those in the MSO, local businesses and private citizens who worked so hard and gave so much to make sure that the Salute to Independence didn't fade away under our watch.