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Patriotic marches part of zoo concert

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Patriotic marches, selections from film scores and other compositions will be part of a Saturday, May 24 concert at the Rio Grande Zoo.

“The Memorial Day (weekend) concert is and has always been a wonderful way for the New Mexico Philharmonic to honor those heroes who serve or have served in our armed forces,” guest conductor David Felberg wrote in an email.

The concert is titled “Here’s to the Heroes!”

Three John Philip Sousa marches – “The Liberty Bell,” “The U.S. Field Artillery March” and the famous “Stars and Stripes Forever” – open the second half of the program.

The marches, Felberg said, “inspire and uphold the feelings of American patriotism.”

Music from John Williams’ film score for “Saving Private Ryan” and from Richard Rodgers/Robert Russell Bennett’s score for the documentary film “Victory at Sea” pay tribute to the American soldiers and sailors who fought in World War II.

Ryan Downs, first-place winner in the violin division of the Jackie McGeHee Young Artists Competition, will perform with the New Mexico Philharmonic at the Rio Grande Zoo.

Ryan Downs, first-place winner in the violin division of the Jackie McGeHee Young Artists Competition, will perform with the New Mexico Philharmonic at the Rio Grande Zoo.

The program also contains Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” which is an interpretation on the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” as well as Aaron Copland’s “Variations on a Shaker Hymn,” and Jerry Bilik’s “American Civil War Fantasy.”

A special element of the evening will be concerto performances by violinist Ryan Downs and pianist Ken Lien, first-place winners of the 2014 Jackie McGehee Young Artists’ Competition with the orchestra.

The concert closes with Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Tchaikovsky wrote the work to commemorate Russia’s defeat in 1812 of Napoleon’s invading grand army, Marian Tanau, the philharmonic’s executive director, wrote in an email.

The work, Felberg explained, depicts battle scenes, Russian prayers of victory, cold winds and snowstorms, and the bells of Russian victory.

Due to its “spirit and wonderful music,” the overture has been adopted by Americans to recall the United States victory over Great Britain in the War of 1812, Tanau said.

“The work itself is spectacular and its grandeur can only be felt in a live performance,” he added.

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