The DeKalb Municipal Band will present a Salute to the Fourth of July at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Hopkins Park band shell. This celebration of the country’s birthday with patriotic and American music, headlines vocalist Zachary Harris, the trumpet and trombone sections, special recognition honoring members and veterans of the armed forces, and musical fireworks.
Harris has been singing in the area for the past seven years and is a veteran soloist on the DeKalb Municipal Band Hopkins Park stage. He’s been featured in many Stagecoach Players shows, performed on the Egyptian Theatre stage, and has volunteered his talents to retirement homes, charities and churches.
Harris has recorded three piano/vocal cover albums, and his band, The Zach Harris Band, has recorded its debut original music album, “My Stand,” which is due out this summer. He performs solo on Friday nights at Tapa la Luna in downtown DeKalb, and for the past few months has been serving as a praise and worship leader at Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church.
His vocals on the Fourth are “It’s De Lovely,” “Stardust” and “When You’re Smiling.”
July 4 concertgoers will be treated to a rich variety of American music, written by American composers. Opening the show is the modern concert march “Block M,” written by 22-year-old University of Michigan student Jerry Bilik. This piece has been voted one of the top 100 marches of all time. Next is Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which, in the view of many people, is almost a second national anthem. In 1918, Berlin composed the melody and lyrics while serving the U.S. Army, but America did not hear the song until Kate Smith sang it on national radio for the first time on Nov. 10, 1938.
The brass section will shine in Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Copland composed his fanfare in 1942 to honor the role of the common man during World War II. Specialty numbers “Trumpets a la Carte” and “Lassus Trombone” allow the trumpet and trombone sections to shine.
And no Fourth of July concert is complete without “The 1812 Overture,” with its cannon fire and ringing of cathedral bells. In 1974, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops began the nationwide tradition of programming this overture in Fourth of July holiday concerts, a practice which continues throughout the land today. Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Am-Vets and active military will be recognized and honored with service songs from all branches of the U.S. military.
John Phillips Sousa’s “Stars & Stripes Forever,” considered to be his grandest march, will lead into a spectacular display of musical fireworks.
The Hopkins Park band shell is located behind the swimming pool at 1403 Sycamore Road in DeKalb. Bench seating is available, or listeners can bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on the grass. DeKalb Municipal Band concerts are sponsored by the city of DeKalb and the DeKalb Park District.