The usual Fourth of July fireworks and patriotic celebrations for Independence Day may have been canceled or postponed throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, but there is still one annual tradition that will continue, albeit in an altered—that means virtual—form.
Choral Artists of Sarasota has, for the past decade and a half, presented a concert of songs in honor of Independence Day. They’ll do so again this year, but in an online format to ensure the safety of singers and audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to artistic director Joseph Holt, this year’s concert will feature highlights of previous Independence Day celebrations, and will be streamed over various platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.
Original plans for the live performance of “American Fanfare” included patriotic music by female composers, with narration highlighting the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote—a part of Florida Studio Theatre’s “The Suffragist Project.”
Now, the July 4 video will instead feature hits from past years’ concerts, including George M. Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” Other works for possible selection: a setting of the Gettysburg Address, a traditional Bach chorale with words by Pete Seeger and a pairing of “My Country Tis of Thee” with “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Details will be updated at choralartistssarasota.org, but in the meantime, Holt wants followers to know that, “We will carry on a beloved tradition with songs that express love of country. When you’re in love, you want to sing. And you’ll feel that love when you hear the Choral Artists sing songs from the heart about the land we love and honor.” Prepare to sing along.