10th Pops in the Park an all-American event

By Hank Lohmeyer

10th Pops in the Park an all-American event | Cedaredge

Photo by Hank Lohmeyer The Valley Symphony Orchestra's brass section added crisp musical accents to the 10th annual Pops in the Park concert on Saturday.

The Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus entertained and inspired music fans on Saturday, Sept. 10, with a celebration of musical Americana at the 10th annual Pops in the Park concert at Cedaredge Town Park.

Centennial Bandstand once again served as the perfect musical venue, and the park's lush, late summer green added the comfortable setting for listeners.

Conductor Mike Kern and the top musical talent of the symphony took the audience on a musical tour of America starting on the East Coast with "A New England Holiday" and then headed out West.

Along the way, the musicians, along with fine voices in the chorus conducted by Jan Tuin, scaled the heights of lofty mountain ranges and trundled along on the back of a sure-footed burro on a narrow trail into the depths of the Grand Canyon.

The musicians and chorus volunteer their time and travel to come to Cedaredge each year to perform for their local fans in the free presentation for all ages.

The New England Holiday was followed by a Sousa march, something that no Pops in the Park concert would be complete without.

Aaron Copeland's music received substantial attention on the evening's program as the symphony performed pieces from his Appalachian Spring and also from his Grand Canyon Suite.

But prominent as Copeland's musical contributions to American culture were in the evening's program, it was a song made famous by Kate Smith that sat as the crown jewel in the evening's entertainment.

"God Bless America" by Irving Berlin was performed by the orchestra as an opening piece. It was also performed as the concert's final piece as the traditional Pops in the Park canon blast sounded off at the conclusion. And, the Valley Symphony Chorus also sang the song during one of its presentations -- three performances of "God Bless America" to enjoy in pleasing and comfortable surroundings on a beautiful, late summer evening.