To Paul and Diane Burns, thank you very much for your Herald letter regarding the Stars and Stripes Celebration program at the Sarasota National Cemetery. I'm not sure what time you arrived at the cemetery, but before the show started, the Pops Orchestra played Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" and at the conclusion of the ceremony, the Pops Orchestra played "God Bless the USA."
The main attraction was "The Many Faces of Old Glory," which is an hour long program about the history of the American flag, and the Pops Orchestra played continuously behind the presenter with music such as "Yankee Doodle," the Marine's Hymn, "Anchors Away" and the "Star-Spangled Banner" (just to name a few). The program was already an hour and a half long, so we limited our pre music and post music due to length and heat.
All of the Pops Orchestra members volunteered their time for the entire week of rehearsals/performance and had to be in place for a sound check at 4:15 that day. Many of us started moving equipment at 1:30 that afternoon and didn't finish until 9:30 that night.
The amount of work that goes into a performance such as that for our community (battling heat, rehearsal time, and performance time) can't be quantified, and it is so frustrating to read a letter such as this that does not contain correct facts.
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I believe your expectations may have been for a concert of patriotic music by the Pops Orchestra, but the event was really about the "Many Faces of Old Glory." I am so sorry you were disappointed and hope you will continue to attend our concerts in the future.
Robyn L. Bell, conductor, Pops Orchestra