BREVARD COUNTY — This weekend, drive on up to the Avenue Viera for the chance to feel the patriotic spirit flow through you as the Space Coast Symphony Wind Orchestra conducts “Sweet Land of Liberty.”
Attendees are invited to wear red, white and blue as they cheer on the orchestra from their cars and lawn chairs.
This patriotic “drive-in” concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15 in the back parking lot of AMC Avenue 16 and Books-A-Million, 2261 Town Center, Melbourne.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online or before the show. Admission is available for $10 per person or $25 per car of adults and free for children under 18 or with a student ID.
This fresh take on “drive-in” entertainment is the second in a musical series of “Space Coast Strong” summer outdoor concerts led by conductor Aaron Collins.
“Sweet Land of Liberty” will feature patriotic favorites by Lee Greenwood, Richard Rogers, Morton Gould, Adam Gorb and marches from John Philip Sousa.
The Space Coast is home to many veterans and this concert is a salute to those who have served. For Mr. Collins, one of his favorite moments during a patriotic concert is the presentation of the Armed Forces Tribute, during which members of each branch stand while they hear their branch song played.
“It really is a powerful experience and to share that with them is particularly meaningful!” Mr. Collins said. “We are deeply honored and proud to perform a concert saluting the men and women who serve and have served. We honor them now for their courageous service and the liberties they preserved. They are our super heroes!”
This concert will give patrons the opportunity to share in the love and devotion to their country, while honoring those who served.
“To me, patriotism means standing up for views contrary to my own, because diversity is the single greatest American characteristic,” Mr. Collins said. “From our earliest days as a country, we have been a nation as varied politically as we are geographically. We cannot lose sight of that richness and complexity. It means respecting your neighbor’s opinion even if it is contrary to yours. Be respectful and caring to everyone. We need much more love and compassion these days and music is a powerful vehicle in that regard.”
After the success of the first show, Mr. Collins said the orchestra has made some improvements based on feedback from the audience, namely improving the sound amplification.
“Being our first drive-in program, we learned a great deal,” Mr. Collins said. “The biggest issue was the sound amplification. We also experienced issues with the radio transmission. Fortunately, both of those problems will be corrected. We have purchased a much better transmitter and are adding additional speakers to improve the sound.”
Patrons may listen from their cars by tuning into the radio or they can sit outside of their cars. The parking lot provides ample room for social distancing and healthful air flow.
More than 1,000 guests attended the inaugural drive-in concert, which showcased Broadway numbers, and the orchestra is excited to have the opportunity to perform for an audience again.
“We are so happy to be back after a four-month hiatus,” Mr. Collins said. “There is something about music that brings us closer to each other and helps us come together as a community. Community is a fundamental aspect of our experience of music—it unites us, forming bonds that might not exist otherwise.”
SCSWO musicians also agree with their conductor’s sentiments.
“What was so evident to me at our last drive in concert event was that the audience has missed us every bit as much as we have missed them,” said SCSWO Principal Flute, Jennifer Grey.
She continued, “While creating music is a wonderfully unique conversation with my musician friends, ultimately the performance is about the audience. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing someone has experienced joy, and the casual nature of the drive-in concert experience allowed for plenty of spontaneous, fun audience interactions, which warmed my heart.”
SCSWO Principal Clarinet, Jennifer Royals added, “For musicians, making music isn’t just a job, it’s something we are deeply passionate about and love doing. After months of only playing by ourselves, it is so great to be able to play with others and for very appreciative audiences again. It is a little strange to be seated so far apart from our colleagues and does make it harder to hear the other instruments in the ensemble, but it is a small price to pay to continue doing what we love while being safe.”
The Space Coast Symphony Orchestra aims to provide professional concerts at an affordable cost and to offer mentorship and performance opportunities to young musicians. Like many organizations struggling through the pandemic, the SCSO relies on donations to be able to bring symphonic music to people of every age and background.
Music purchases and rentals cost the orchestra $30,000 alone, Mr. Collins noted. Donations can help support the orchestra’s music education programs, free community concerts, and an outstanding concert season by professional musicians.
For more information, visit www.spacecoastsymphony.org or call toll free to (855) 252-7276.