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Maryland Symphony Orchestra to Present 31st Salute to Independence Concert at Antietam National Battlefield; Announces Sponsors

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – June 7, 2016 - The 31st Annual “Salute to Independence” concert, presented by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, will be held on Saturday, July 2 at the Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg. The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Music Director Elizabeth Schulze has programmed a concert that will honor, through words and music, the men and women who have served our country in the past, and those who are currently members of the United States Armed Forces. The concert will also commemorate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016 and, as part of its 35th anniversary season kickoff, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra will unveil a new look that represents the first major logo overhaul in its history.

The “Salute to Independence” has become one of Maryland’s most patriotic outdoor events and Washington County’s largest, one-day tourism event, attracting nearly 30,000 people each year. In recent years it has been recognized by the American Bus Association as one of the “Top 100 Events in North America.”

Vocalist Robert Tudor will be the guest soloist for this concert and provide narration to Jay Unger’s stunningly moving and famed “Ashoken Farewell.”

Baritone Robert Tudor enjoys a vibrant career in the genres of opera, early music, musical theater and cabaret, and as a concert soloist throughout the United States. Since 2007, Robert has been featured annually as a guest artist in the Montana Early Music Festival and returns to Montana each summer as an artist and instructor at the Helena Choral Festival, where he directs, teaches, and appears as a soloist in recitals and concerts.

Tudor has performed with the celebrated Washington Bach Consort, Pro Music Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Maryland Handel Festival, and the Jacksonville and Maryland Symphony Orchestras. He has also appeared as a guest artist at The Art of Argento, a two-week celebration of the music of contemporary American composer Dominick Argento at the University of Maryland. Tudor received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice Performance from the University of Maryland. He serves as Director of Vocal Activities and Chair of the Department of Music at Shepherd University. Tudor will sing the National Anthem and lead the traditional Salute to the Armed Forces medley and the “Sing –Out America” sing-a-long.

The MSO will be performing such crowd pleasing favorites as Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” selections from Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” the Armed Forces Salute, and Sousa’s “Yorktown Centennial March” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Serving as Master of Ceremonies will be former television news anchor and producer Pieter Bickford. Bickford is a lifelong journalist who now spends his days uncovering fun things to do in the area as Editor-in-Chief of What's NXT, a free monthly event guide. Pieter grew up in Hagerstown, graduated from North High, and studied journalism at Ithaca College in New York. Pieter previously worked at WHAG-TV, WBAL Radio and Maryland Public Television. Pieter is actively involved in the community, serving on the board of directors for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and hosting numerous events and forums throughout the year.

The evening will end with a spectacular fireworks display supported by PNC and produced by Bay Fireworks of Farmingdale, NY.

Event Partners for the “Salute” are the National Park Service, Antietam National Battlefield, and Washington County, MD.

The PNC Fireworks Display is presented through a grant from the PNC Foundation.

Liberty Sponsors are Antietam Cable Television, FirstEnergy Foundation on behalf of Potomac Edison, Herald Mail Company/Herald-Mail Media, and The Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation.

Red, White and Blue Sponsors are Electromet Corporation and Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Victory Sponsors are Charles Schwab Office of T.J. Roccograndi, Meritus Health, Inc., Volvo, The Hamilton Family Foundation, and The Marlene & Mike Young Family.

Patriotic Sponsors are American Legion Clopper-Michael Post #10, Unit #10 American Legion Auxiliary, Post #10 Sons of the American Legion, Paul Crampton Contractors, Delaplaine Foundation, Schmankerl Stube Bavarian Restaurant, and Varner “Pat” Paddack.

The MSO also acknowledges the support from its “Friends of the Salute” members, and a Washington County Gives matching grant as awarded by the Community Foundation of Washington County through the orchestra’s participation in the recent 24-Hour Day of Giving on May 3, 2016.

Antietam National Battlefield is one of America’s National Parks and is the site of the bloodiest one day battle in American history. On September 17, 1862, more than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or declared missing in action after 12 hours of savage combat. For more information on the battlefield,

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra and “Salute to Independence” is supported in part by a grant from the Maryland States Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 35th season as the area’s premier professional orchestra dedicated to providing musical performances that educate and entertain, while enhancing the cultural environment of Western Maryland and the surrounding region.