The Commercial Appeal
Music revue sparks July 4
Collierville’s ‘Star Spangled’ Salute’ opening
Citizens of Collierville can get a jump on their Independence Day celebrations this weekend when a music-filled patriotic revue takes over the Harrell Theater Saturday and Sunday.
According to Lisa Miller, chairman of the Collierville Arts Council, the group responsible for organizing the inaugural “Star Spangled Salute: A Patriotic Variety Show,” the show was designed as a complement to the town’s big annual Independence Day commemoration in H.W. Cox Park, a fireworks-filled fete that marks its 29th anniversary this Thursday.
The show runs at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Harrell Theater located at the entrance to Cox Park.
“The town has graciously allowed us to tie into that event, so we’re all excited about that,” says Miller. “We just thought we would utilize a lot of local talent and have an event that could kick off the celebration week of the 4th of July.”
“Star Spangled Salute” will strike a more musical note than the celebration on July 3, with a wide variety of performers singing songs from throughout the nation’s history. Directed by Ed Coleman, the show is arranged around themes. After a presentation of colors by Collierville Boy Scout Troop 65 and the singing of the national anthem by vocalist Chandler Booth, an ensemble that includes Booth, Jordan Cook, Anna Melvin, Maddie Lane and Caroline Watson will give the “Salute to America,” a short program of patriotic songs that includes Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud To Be An American” and Neil Diamond’s “America.”
The 52nd Regimental String Band, an old timey group that is a staple of area Civil War re- enactments, will perform a tribute to that war that includes “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Dixie,” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
There will also be a salute to the United Service Organizations (U. S.O.), the nonprofit group that has sustained the nation’s troops during times of war, featuring several songs made famous in the organization’s World War II cantinas, including “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
Organizers are perhaps most proud of the return of the Collierville Children’s Chorus. The chorus flourished for several years in the community before petering out about a dozen years ago, according to Miller.
“My daughter was in the chorus about 15 years ago, and it was a great thing,” she says, adding that the group, currently comprised of approximately 30 children under the direction of Leesa Wilkinson, will continue after this debut performance. “They would perform at Christmas functions and other things around town. We just thought this was a great time to resurrect it.”
Miller, likewise, hopes the “Star Spangled Salute” will continue. She says organizers have gotten great support from spon- sors Patriot Bank, Patriot Mortgage, and the Rotary Foundation, and that interest from the community has been encouraging.
“This is a real patriotic community, and it’s a very family oriented community as well so we’re looking for events that can entertain the whole family,” says Miller. “And the Fourth of July is certainly that, and this show is, too, because we have all ages performing from the children’s chorus to a variety of adult acts.”