Three cheers for the red, white, blue … and green

By Phyllis

The Henry Ford sold out four performances of its 17th Annual Salute to America July 1-4. The rockets’ red glare reflected green in the air as the Salute averaged 8,000 people a night. In an elegant tradition that has become a hallmark for many families from all over the state, this Fourth of July party delivered.

Doors opened at 6 p.m., and despite the crowds, entry was easy. The impeccable grounds of the village bore decorative flag streamers and guests were greeted by traditionally dressed singers, game hosts and old fashioned bike riders who directed traffic to the stage area.

By 6:45 p.m. the 1st Michigan Colonial Fire and Drum Corps, led by Mark Logsdon, started the night’s performance. Dressed in traditional uniforms the drummers marched around the field, as people settled in for the show. Kids played traditional old fashioned games like skittles and ring toss provided by Greenfield Village, while parents stood in lines and bought refreshments. Other people came with coolers and picnicked with friends and family, tossing Frisbees around as the night continued.

By 7:30 p.m. the Detroit Chamber Winds & String Brass took the stage and regaled patrons with traditional American folk tunes.

By 8:30 p.m. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the masterful hand of conductor David Alan Miller took the stage. “The Star-Spangled Banner” kicked off the main show which continued with a host of American musical tributes. One of the most the memorable musical works was “The Armed Forces Salute.” As the DSO played through the medley Miller announced each branch of the armed service relevant to each piece of music. Members who served in those branches of service, both past and present, were invited to stand and were recognized by the crowd with applause and cheers.

Native Detroit soprano Kisma Jordan delivered powerful, stunning vocals most notable in Gershwin’s’ “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess.” Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture, Op. 49,” complete with cannon fire, led into the medley of marches that accompanied the amazing firework display which brought the night’s performance to close. The fireworks were as majestic as the age-old marches that played along with the bursting lights. The crowd cheered oohed and ahhed as the night’s finale truly rang out with a bang.

Tickets for next year‘s performances need to be purchased well in advance as this year’s four shows were complete sellouts. For more information call the DSO at (313) 576-5111 or Greenfield Village at (313) 982-6001.