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Maryland Symphony Orchestra to Present 32nd Salute to Independence Concert at Antietam National Battlefield; Announces Sponsors

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – June 9, 2017 - The 32nd Annual “Salute to Independence” concert, presented by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, will be held on Saturday, July 1 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 “Salute to Independence” has become one of Maryland’s most patriotic outdoor events and Washington County’s largest, one-day tourism event. In summer 2016, approximately 34,000 people attended the event. In recent years it has been recognized by the American Bus Association as one of the “Top 100 Events in North America.”

Local folk singer/songwriter, Jennie Avila, will join the MSO as a guest vocalist and perform two of her original songs including “Breakfast at the Heck’s” and “To Clara Barton.” Avila will also lead the traditional Salute to the Armed Forces medley and the “Sing –Out America” sing-a-long.

According to her official website, “Jennie Avila sings original songs with an energizing presence. She accompanies herself with acoustic guitar, conga drum, and kokirikko (an instrument that resembles a snake vertebrae) and exotic hand percussion. A trafficker in goosebumps, Jennie brings an incredible magnetism to the stage. Her earthly voice swings agilely from muddy earth growls to mystic ethereal whispers with heart touching lyrics that stir the soul.”

The MSO will be performing such crowd pleasing favorites as Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Rodeo”, the Armed Forces Salute, and Sousa’s “Liberty Bell” march and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Serving as Master of Ceremonies will be television and radio personality Robert Aubry Davis. Davis is a native Washingtonian and an active member of the area's cultural community. He is the creator and host of "Millennium of Music," a program dedicated to music from the thousand years before Bach. The program is carried by more than 100 public radio stations nationwide. He has been host and moderator of WETA TV 26's Emmy Award-winning weekly arts discussion program, "Around Town," since its inception in 1986. Davis can also be heard on Vox, XM Satellite Radio's opera and classical vocal music channel.

His education in literature and art history at both Duke University and American University and his broad knowledge of — and participation in — the arts make him a well-respected and visible member of Washington's cultural community. He is a regular lecturer at a variety of area seminars and performances, including concerts with the Folger Consort, the Baltimore Consort, the Early Music Series at the University of Maryland, the Dumbarton Oaks Concert Series and the Smithsonian Early Music Series.

At the opening of the concert, a C-17 Globemaster aircraft of the 167th Airlift Wing will fly over the stage at the conclusion of the Star Spangled Banner. The 167th Airlift Wing is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The unit has deployed to the four corners of the globe providing airlift and humanitarian support to the nation.

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 The Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation, Antietam Cable Television, FirstEnergy Foundation on behalf of Potomac Edison, Herald Mail Company/Herald-Mail Media, 95.9 “The Big Dawg” and Today’s 97.5 radio stations.

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

Victory Sponsors are Meritus Health, Inc., 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 4, 2017.

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.


Founded in 1982, Maryland Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 36th season as the area’s premier professional orchestra.  Under the musical direction of Maestra Elizabeth Schulze, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to providing musical performances that educate and entertain, while enhancing the cultural environment of Western Maryland and the surrounding region. Learn more:

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