Rock River Philharmonic marks Fourth at Courthouse Park

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Ann Fiore
Thursday, June 26, 2014

JANESVILLE—The orchestra's name might be new, but its patriotic concert at Courthouse Park is a time-honored tradition that will march on through another Independence Day.

The Rock River Philharmonic—formerly known as the Beloit Janesville Symphony—will perform well-loved patriotic and classical pieces Thursday, July 3, at its annual Concert in the Park.

Music starts at 6:30 p.m.

No narrators will be featured this year, music director Rob Tomaro said. Instead, the orchestra will be front and center.

As expected, the program includes three pieces by John Philip Sousa: “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “El Capitan” and “The Thunderer.”

“People literally can't get enough of the marches,” Tomaro noted.

It also salutes American composers Scott Joplin and Leonard Bernstein with “The Entertainer” and “Overture to Candide,” and it offers a nod to big-band composers such as Vernon Duke in “A Salute to the Big Bands.”

One highlight, Tomaro said, will be an arrangement of “America the Beautiful” by Crawford Gates, a longtime music director for the BJS, now retired.

The arrangement is short—only about 2 minutes—but Tomaro called it “well-crafted and passionate.”

“Everyone knows the melody inside-out,” he said, “so anything you do as a variation jumps to the forefront.”

Another tweak in the program is the addition of the “Ruslan und Ludmilla Overture,” a light, rousing overture by Russian composer Mikhail Glinka.

Tchaikovsky's “1812 Overture” ends the program with a traditional bang.

Last updated: 9:50 am Thursday, June 26, 2014

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