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The Salem Band welcomed a large crowd of guests to the first of many summer concerts in the beautiful and historic Salem Square for an evening that represented their vision of music. Despite the rain postponing the original concert date, and the promise of rain for this evening, the crowd was still present and excited to support their local Salem Band. Led by music director, conductor, and executive director Eileen Young, the setlist included tunes from a variety of genres. From 80s hits to hymns, each piece was carefully selected to showcase the band's appreciation for their history and their Moravian roots.
The show began with the "Happy Birthday" March, arranged by Chip Seiler, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the band. As a recent graduate of Salem College, I have been fully immersed in the 250th anniversary celebrations all year, and it was lovely to be able to continue the fun at the concert. It is not every day that an ensemble celebrates their 250th year, which is something Young touched on; she discussed just how magical it is that an ensemble was created almost immediately after the Moravians who traveled from Pennsylvania arrived in Winston-Salem back in 1772. It shows just how important music was and continues to be in so many communities. This sentiment was also present in "American Visions" by Jason Nitsch. This piece has a traditional feel, but also incorporates many interesting sounds and textures that had me on the edge of my seat. The music from the first half of the set highlighted the beautiful scenery around us. With a wonderful view of Old Salem to our left and Salem College to our right, along with the beautiful sounds from songs such as "Bright Eyes" by Walter Finlayson and "For Your Eyes Only" from the James Bond Suite by Monty Norman, my mind and ears were set at ease.
One of my personal favorites was "Harry's Wondrous World" by Jerry Brubaker. As someone who has read each Harry Potter book seven times and watched the movies more than I care to admit, I would say I am a fan. John Williams is a genius film score composer, and this piece truly highlighted that. This melody featured a collection of tunes from the second movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Hearing the music instantly took me back to my family room back home and the countless nights I forced my poor parents to rewatch the movies with me. Another nostalgic moment was during the "Eighties Flashback" tune by Paul Murtha. While I was not born in the 80s, I was lucky enough to have parents that blasted many of the popular hits around me from an early age. This mashup included "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi, and so many more. I loved seeing the crowd, including myself, sing and dance along to the well-known tunes. This piece was a perfect end to the night!
Remember to follow The Salem Band on Facebook to stay up to date on news and concert dates for their first Summer Concert Series in three years. You would not want to miss it!