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Union Station. Photo: Roy Harryman. wikimedia.

Patriotic music will fill the air at local Memorial Day weekend events

Music was part of the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868. “At intervals during the day, an excellent band, stationed near the platform, discoursed some sweet funeral dirges,” the “Richmond Dispatch” report at the time.

This Memorial Day weekend offers several opportunities to enjoy patriotic music in the area, according to radio station Classical KC.

Celebration at the Station. The annual concert in front of Union Station is a free, family-friendly, outdoor event. The tradition started back in 2003 and has always featured the Kansas City Symphony, performing patriotic classics and Americana music, as well as military musicians. This is music director Michael Stern’s final year leading the orchestra at the event.

READ: How much do you know about Memorial Day?

“We are honored every year to bring our music to this celebration and to mark this event with you for the fun and for the meaning behind the holiday,” he said. “It’s a thrill for all of us on stage to honor the solemnity of this day, as well as to share in the festivities.”

The program includes works by American composers such as John Williams, Aaron Copland and John Phillip Sousa, as well as Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” with live cannon blasts and ringing bells, followed by a fireworks display.

National WWI Museum and Memorial. Events will be held all weekend, but the Memorial Day ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 27. This public event, which is free to attend, includes a keynote speech by Lt. General (Ret.) Wendy M. Masiella, and ceremonial music from the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America Roots in Blue Rock Band, from Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

The ensemble is slated to perform “Lest We Forget,” by CMSgt (Ret.) Larry MacTaggart, and “American Anthem,” by Norah Jones, with SSgt MeLan Smartt performing the National Anthem. At noon, there will be a bell-tolling ceremony, with presentation of colors, a wreath laying and a reading. During Memorial Day weekend, admission to the museum is free for veterans and active-duty military, as well as their spouses and dependent with identification, and half price general admission for the public.

35th Infantry Division Band. A military band closer to home is the 35th Infantry Division Band, part of the Kansas National Guard out of Fort Leavenworth, and they perform regularly throughout the region. This year’s Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery is not open to the public, so those wishing to place memorials on gravesites there are advised to do so on Saturday or Sunday.

–Anita Widaman | Metro Voice

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