Thousands of Oro Valley and Northwest residents are expected to lounge on a small hill of grass at Oro Valley's Canyon del Oro Riverfront Park the evening of July 4 to listen to a selection of patriotic music performed by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. This is the third year in a row the orchestra has performed a July 4 concert at the Oro Valley park.

Accompanying the orchestra this year will be the Pusch Ridge Community Choir in its inaugural performance (see story page 15).

The orchestra will be conducted by TSO music director George Hanson, who will be flying in from Germany for the performance.

Hanson is also the musical director of a German opera company but said he makes it a point to make the arduous trip back to Tucson for the Oro Valley concert as it is one of his favorite events. The orchestra will be performing Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," and works from George M. Cohen, John Phillip Sousa and Tchaikovsky. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m.

Concert goers may bring coolers, chairs and any other picnic items they choose, except alcoholic beverages and glass containers.

Refreshments at the concert will be provided by the Oro Valley Bobby Sox Softball League, which uses the event as one of its major fund-raisers. The Bobby Soxers will be selling hot dogs, sodas, popcorn, snow cones and candy.

Other events at the concert will include musical fun for children provided by the Tucson Civic Orchestra and the Flute Club of Tucson's Instrument Petting Zoo programs (instruments courtesy of Beavers Band Box). Children may actually conduct the musicians.

Tucson storyteller Mark Severson will also be there. The first 100 children to participate will receive a copy of the July issue of Sesame Street Magazine courtesy of the Parenting Group.

The issue features "make music" projects. A like number of Parenting magazines will be available at the GOVAC ramada. The children's fun begins before 6 p.m. in the park ramadas.

Riverfront Park is on Lambert Lane between La Canada Drive and First Avenue. Buses will carry concert goers from the Fry's shopping plaza at La Canada and Lambert, and from the Home Depot parking lot at Oracle Road and First Avenue, starting at 5 p.m. Parking at the CDO Riverfront Park will be limited to vehicles with disabled plates or placards. Parking along both sides of Lambert will be allowed, but vehicles must be parked legally and leave in the same direction as traffic on their side of the street. The event is free, however, the Catalina Community Resource Center will be accepting donations of nonperishable food. For more information, call 797-3959.


Though the Tucson Symphony Orchestra can play patriotic tunes with pizzaz, some of the organizers of this year's Oro Valley/Greater Oro Valley Arts Council Independence Day Concert thought a choir could really make the performance peppy.

Those thoughts led to the formation in March of the Pusch Ridge Community Choir, a collaboration between GOVAC and John Wyatt, the musical director at Casas Adobes Baptist Church.

Nearly 100 people have joined the choir, which began practicing for its July 4 debut earlier this month with the TSO at CDO Riverfront Park.

Wyatt said about half of the volunteer choir members came from his church choirs. The rest are mostly members of other church choirs, barbershop quartets or similar singing groups that are sprinkled around the Northwest.

Lyra Done, a real estate agent and former candidate for Oro Valley Town Council, said she has been singing all her life in church choirs and quartets. When she read about the call for members in the Northwest EXPLORER she was eager to audition because the TSO concert in Oro Valley is one of her favorite events.

The choir will sing the National Anthem, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, America the Beautiful and Stars and Stripes Forever.

Wyatt said no other plans for the choir have been made past July 4, but if the performance next week is successful, the choir could make a repeat performance for the July 4, 2003 concert.

For more information about the choir, call 797-3959.

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