Summertime favorites - music and baseball - harmonize at Dorchester Park
"Take Me Out To The Concert!"
That's what hundreds of Dorchester sports fans and music lovers were humming last Sunday afternoon as they left "A Salute to the Red Sox," the third annual Boston Landmarks Orchestra concert in Dorchester Park.
(The 2005 concert was held in the rain location of the Carney Hospital auditorium. The 2006 and 2007 ball-field presentations, along with the ones at the Jamaica Pond, remain the only outdoor neighborhood Landmarks locations in Boston .)
Artistic Director Conductor Charles Ansbacher put together a rousing Pops-like program mixing crowd-pleasers like "You Gotta Have Heart" from the baseball musical Damn Yankees and March King John Philip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis" with light classical fare such as Victor Herbert's "American Fantasia."
Just as the Quaker hymn "The Lord of the Dance" was "quoted" or as they say today "sampled" throughout the section of Copeland's "Appalachian Spring" the orchestra played, there were frequent echoes of the most famous waltz in sports, "Take Me Out to The Ball Game," during "Lifting the Curse: A Story of the Red Sox," a 20-minute piece by composer Julian Wachner, commissioned by the orchestra last year.
Narrating the accompanying rhyming couplet text of "Lifting the Curse," written by National Public Radio's Bill Littefield was Chris Collins, principal sports anchor for New England Cable News. Describing his experience at Dot Park (and at the Hatch Shell, the previous day), Collins enthused, "For me this is a far greater rush than television just because there are people out there, and you can see their reactions when you say something or do something."
At the Hatch Shell, Collins also recited "Casey at the Bat" by Worcester-raised Ernst Thayer. For the Dot Park show, Bill Walczak (on the Landmarks board as well as on countless Dorchester ones) was supposed to have done the honors, but since he was too pooped from running the Falmouth Road Race that day he asked another lifetime Red Sox fan to pinch-hit for him, State rep. Linda Dorcena Forry.
To keep great events like this coming consider attending the Dorchester Park Gala Celebration, a dinner-dance-auction on Friday, September 28. Proceeds will establish an endowment fund. See dotpark.org.