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Conductor Scott O’Neil Thrilled To Return For ‘Independence Eve’

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Symphony will perform at the fourth annual Independence Eve celebration in Civic Center Park, playing a range of patriotic favorites.

The concert starts with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and musical styles include classic orchestral, rock and America theater.

“We believe we are everyone’s orchestra,” said symphony conductor Scott O’Neil. “So to play some music that leans a little bit towards rock, to play some music that leans a little bit towards march music with Sousa, to play some music that leans a little bit towards American musical, to lean towards classical — it’s kind of a kaleidoscopic program. It’s got something for everyone.”

O’Neil has led the orchestra for each of the Independence Eve concerts and is always glad to take the stage at Civic Center Park.

“I’m sure the audience changes every year,” he said. “But you start to feel a certain kind of kinship with audience.”

For the symphony, it means performing in fronts of tens of thousands of people.

“I like feeling of the audience so close, but also I like looking out from the stage and looking all the way back to the steps of the Capitol building. It’s an awesome thing to play for an audience that large.”

This year’s program includes familiar songs like “The Liberty Fanfare,” “1812 Overture,” and “America the Beautiful;” but there are also new songs in the concert including a selection from “Jurassic Park” and “The Music Man,” which O’Neil thinks will be a sleeper hit of the evening.

“People think, ‘Oh, ‘The Music Man’ … okay.’ It’s actually pretty patriotic sounding and it ends with ‘76 Trombones!’ “

SECTION: Independence Eve

And another change to the program is using Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”

“Some people know it as the theme of ‘Apocalypse Now,’ and some people know it as ‘Kill da Wabbit,’ “ O”Neil explained. “It’s a great tune to accompany fireworks.”

Jake Schroeder returns as a soloist singing Neil Diamond’s “America.”

But O’Neil said it’s not the new stuff but the familiar that is his favorite part of the evening, “The Armed Forces Salute.”

“The music is meant to evoke emotion, it’s meant to evoke a certain feeling and I don’t think the feeling is any stronger than when we do that. That’s my favorite moment.”

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