Sarasota Orchestra Makes Music History At Ed Smith Stadium With Spirit Of America Concert
Maestro ANDREW LANE and the Pops musicians of the Sarasota Orchestra made music history in Sarasota as they brought "Spirit of America" to a sold-out audience at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday, May 10.
Lane had never conducted in a ballpark, and the orchestra had never before performed at Ed Smith Stadium, where the Orioles host the "Arts in the Ballpark" series of free and low-cost family-friendly events. In celebration of these "firsts," and to cap off the orchestra's 65th season, a dazzling fireworks display followed the concert.
"The musicians and I were excited about performing in such an unusual venue that we knew would draw an even broader audience to the Sarasota Orchestra," said Lane, who has conducted for the orchestra since 2003. "The music was selected to appeal to all ages and touched on the diverse heritage that personifies American culture. It was fitting that we were able to perform this particular concert in that most American of venues - a baseball park."
Lane's Pops concerts are known for combining audience favorites and musical surprises, creating experiences that engage both casual listeners and seasoned symphony goers. "Spirit of America" followed suit with a delightful program including a narrated, musical version of Casey at the Bat and the thrilling Roundball Rock. Additional favorites included a suite from Disney's new classics, and popular works such as John Williams' Star Wars and Bernstein's West Side Story.
In yet another first, guest artist MOLLY CHERRYHOLMES made her Sarasota debut. With five Grammy nominations to her credit, Cherryholmes is an exceptional violinist, vocalist and songwriter. She started her career touring with the bluegrass band Cherryholmes.
Cherryholmes played violin and keyboards, and sang while keeping time by tapping her green-shod feet. Her spritely movement during "Riverdance" reminded the crowd of her bluegrass roots, and her furious solo on violin during a John Tesh composition riveted the listeners.
Vocalist MARIA WIRRIES, a local rising star at the age of 16, performed the National Anthem and Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas. Wirries first performed with the Orchestra when she was 13. Her powerful soprano delivered a rousing "Star Spangled Banner," and the Pocahontas theme entranced the audience.
Filling the stands along the third-base line, the audience revelled in the unique concert setting as twilight approached. A gentle breeze lofted the American flag in left center field, and an American Bald Eagle and feisty osprey made a surprise appearance, conducting aerobatics above the outfield during the Orchestra's rendition of "The Invincibles".
Ballpark style concessions and impromptu comedy from the Oriole Bird mascot and Maestro Lane - wearing a MATT WIETERS Orioles jersey - added to the fun. Following the musical performance, the audience thundered its approval with two standing ovations. Another tremendous roar from the crowd followed the dazzling fireworks display that closed the show.
"The Orioles were thrilled to host the Sarasota Orchestra at Ed Smith Stadium for the first time," said DAVID ROVINE, Vice President of Orioles Sarasota. "We are eager to showcase the arts in our community while offering family-priced entertainment that appeals to all ages."