Shortly after Easter, members of Sarasota Baptist Church started work on “Freedom: A Salute to American Liberty,” a musical performance covering a range of music from “Amazing Grace” to “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
The result — a 35-minute tribute to America’s birthday, to members of the U.S. military serving in war zones, and to veterans — is beautiful and touching.
“People who hear the performance are moved to tears; the music is wonderful and strong,” said Michael Moore, associate pastor for worship and music ministries. “Freedom has the songs you think about on the Fourth of July.
“It will be very memorable for everyone who attends,” Moore said. “There is one song where a little girl sings about her dad going away and saying, ‘I salute you.’ My goodness, that is touching. It gives you the sense of American pride, our heritage and where we came from.”
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Members of the congregation will present the performance at 8:30 and 10 a.m. July 5 at the Sarasota campus, 7091 Proctor Road, and at 11 a.m. at the Lakewood Ranch campus, at the corner of University Parkway and 5600 Deer Drive, said Diana Sinkler, administrative music assistant.
Membership at Sarasota Baptist numbers more than 2,600, and separate choirs and bands will present “Freedom” at each campus. The performance will be part of a multi-media presentation, which will include film footage and photographs.
“There are a couple of things that brought this to the forefront. One is having older people in the congregation who served in World War II. Those older people who understand sacrifice won’t be with us much longer,” Moore said.
“We have a number of people who served or continue to serve in the military. We wanted to do something to draw the church’s attention to the sacrifices made for the freedoms we enjoy in America. It’s easy to take for granted the things we have,” Moore said.
The program is especially timely, considering how difficult the economy has become, he said.
“We want people to come together not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans,” Moore said.
Pastor Mike Landry’s sermon will key off “Freedom,” and he will preach at both campuses as he does each Sunday. The two campuses are separated by just a few miles and Interstate 75 offers a quick connecting corridor.
“Freedom will celebrate in song our heritage of faith and the very thread of America’s history,” Sinkler said. “Freedom is a word we should not take lightly.”
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 708-7916.