That hazardous little mercury column in Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park had climbed well beyond a level that was reasonable and proper. The Cary Town Band members had just finished warming up (in the most favorable sense of the expression) for their twenty-fifth annual Independence Eve Patriotic Program. Band director Stuart Holoman then played the straight man as he assured the parboiled crowd that the program would be underway in about ten minutes, and further that they should go ahead and make themselves comfortable!

For a spirited beginning to “The Spirit of America,” the players chose “The Spirit of Cary” by their erstwhile colleague, Roger Phelps. Among the many works following were a Carmen Dragon arrangement of “America, the Beautiful” and Goldman’s “The Chimes of Liberty,” a frisky number featuring appropriately frisky work on the piccolo, and surprise, the chimes. Perhaps appealing to the traditionalists was Grundman’s “American Folk Rhapsody No. 2.” It celebrated Charming Billy, it longed for the rolling rivers of Shenandoah, and it repeatedly Skipped to My Lou. Holoman pointed out that “Citizen’s Pride,” an affable 1902 piece by Crosby, had long resided exclusively in New England. So it was here receiving its genuine “Southern” premiere.

“His Honor,” a humorous work by Fillmore brought on Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht for befitting remarks on the occasion. He also read a formal “whereas” citation honoring the Cary Town Band for its twenty-five years of superior service to the community.

The players honored each branch of the service with its respective march, asking present and former service members to stand at the appropriate times. Boy Scouts of the Occoneechee Council and Girl Scouts of the Coastal Pines Council posted the colors and led in The Pledge of Allegiance. After the National Anthem, they closed with “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Sousa’s obligatory march, generally seen as America’s very own.

Cary Town Band helpers for those who showed up a bit early, the “Applause! Cary Youth Theatre” members, with their coordinator Rachel Baranski, set the patriotic tone of the evening. With their song and dance moves, these eight charming nine- and ten-year-old girls told of the American melting pot, sang of the Grand Old Flag, declared that This Is My Country, but assured all that This Land Is Your Land.