Symphony on the Prairie "Stars and Stripes Symphony" review

 

A spirited celebration of the USA through music had something for everyone and just about everyone showed up on a glorious evening July 3 -- reportedly 12,291 crammed every which way onto the sprawling Conner Prairie amphitheater, including Winnie and Greg Ballard, the latter to conduct Sousa's jolly march, "The Fairest of the Fair." Yet neither Indy's mayor marking time on the podium, nor Dean Dorrell as Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address, nor Robert Neal reciting a gripping letter from the Gettysburg battlefront, nor Alfred Savia swinging through Benny Goodman clarinet licks, nor color guards from a succession of wars, nor the 19th U.S. Regular Infantry Company A First Battallion 1-163 D Evansville manning cannons for Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture solennelle Op.49, nor a double WOW fireworks display could upstage WFYI's Scott Hoke in period baseball attire rendering a breathtaking blow-by-blow "Casey at the Bat." That fateful game when "Casey, mighty Casey, struck out" proved itself a slice of Americana on the spot with audience members filling an adjacent field for a pickup softball game during intermission. All in all a reflective program that continued on stage with a jazz quartet of ISO players entertaining us through an hour of waiting for cars to move out.

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