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Maryland Symphony Orchestra to Present Annual Salute to Independence Concert at Hagerstown Community College on July 2nd

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – June 7, 2021 – The Annual “Salute to Independence” concert, presented by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, will be held on Friday, July 2 at the Hagerstown Community College (HCC) Amphitheatre. The campus opens at 6:00 p.m. and the concert begins at 8:00 p.m. with fireworks to follow at 9:30 p.m. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Elizabeth Schulze, will be joined by Broadway star and Nashville recording artist Rachel Potter. The concert remains FREE for in person attendance and will be live streamed at no cost on YouTube and MSO Live!

The Orchestra is thrilled to work with HCC as an event partner. Dr. Jim Klauber and the administrative team at Hagerstown Community College have been incredibly gracious and supportive of the Orchestra’s needs to make this concert possible. The use of the HCC facility and close coordination with campus public safety and information technology services assures the continuation of this event – especially as the community begins a “return to normal” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the extremely limited seating capacity in the amphitheater, the community is invited to join in a “tailgate” experience in the parking lots of the HCC campus while livestreaming the concert on a mobile device or tuning in on a designated FM radio station. The fireworks display, choreographed by Zambelli Fireworks, will be visible from most locations on the college campus and the surrounding area. Seating inside the amphitheater is limited and will be offered to event sponsors, first responders, and HCC and MSO guests. The campus will open at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 2, 2021 to the public for parking on a first come, first serve basis. Estimated capacity is 10,000 total attendees for parking lot access. All vehicles should enter the campus at the Robinwood Drive entrance.

Music Director Elizabeth Schulze has programmed a concert that celebrates our national independence, honors the men and women who currently serve and have served in our armed forces, and reflects on the struggles from the past year due to COVID-19. The MSO will be performing traditional favorites such as Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” the Armed Forces Salute, Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Guest vocalist Rachel Potter is sure to delight with special arrangements of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” Katy Perry’s “Firework,” and “Let it Go” from Disney’s FROZEN.

Rachel Potter, dubbed by US Weekly as "One to Watch,” and the Hollywood Reporter raved of her “crystalline vocals," is both a Broadway star and accomplished Nashville recording artist. She made her Broadway debut as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, playing opposite both Bebe Neuwirth and Brooke Shields as Morticia. She then originated the role of the Mistress in the Tony Nominated revival of Evita, starring Ricky Martin and Michael Cerveris. She is featured on the Original Broadway Cast Recording, singing her standout song, "Another Suitcase in Another Hall.” She also had the honor of touring with the smash hit, Wicked, where she understudied the ever "popular," Glinda.

Rachel enjoys a fruitful solo career, having released two solo albums and multiple singles. Her videos have been played on CMT and Entertainment Tonight, and she has been featured in Billboard, Rolling Stone, and Huffington Post, to name a few. Rachel has collaborated with two world-renowned Acapella groups — VoicePlay and Voctave. She was also a finalist on Season 3 of The X Factor on FOX.

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.”

Serving as Master of Ceremonies will be local entertainer and radio personality Ryan Smetzer. A proud resident of Washington County, Ryan serves as an On-Air Personality for LIVE 96.7 and is the owner/head DJ of Ryan Smetzer Entertainment, and the Marketing Consultant/Assistant Producer for Antietam Recreation’s Dinner Shows. Ryan is a Class of 2013 graduate of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, where he performed in the school’s various musical productions including Legally Blonde: The Musical (Emmett), Beauty and the Beast (Gaston) and The Phantom of the Opera (Fermin). Ryan is also a proud alumnus of Hagerstown Community College and Shippensburg University with a B.A. in Communication Journalism - Electronic Media.

The annual Salute to Independence is made possible through the generosity of the following event partners and sponsors:

Event Partner
Hagerstown Community College

Concert Sponsors
The Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation
The Hamilton Family Foundation
The Marlene & Mike Young Family

2021/22 Season Sponsor
Antietam Broadband

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.


Maryland Symphony Orchestra Salute to Independence Concert & Fireworks

Hagerstown Community College Parking Lots and Grounds (Open to the Public)
Hagerstown Community College Amphitheatre (Invitation Only)
Live Streaming through “MSO Live! Virtual Concert Hall” at
Live Streaming through YouTube

Friday, July 2, 2021
Concert: 8:00 p.m.
Fireworks: 9:30 p.m.



Hagerstown Community College (HCC) was founded in 1946 as Maryland’s first community college. More than 100 programs of study are available for university transfer, career preparation, or personal development, as well as non-credit continuing education courses, customized training programs and Washington County’s adult education program. Associate degrees, certificates and letters of recognition are awarded. The 319-acre picturesque campus encompasses 18 buildings and includes a full-service business incubator, numerous gardens, and an outdoor amphitheater.


Founded in 1982, Maryland Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 37th 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: