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Patriotic Pops Concert survives rain indoors
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Michelle Martin and David Fry respond to the crowd after finishing a Patsy Cline song at the Patriotic Pops Concert at Brenau University. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Rain canceled the barbecue and forced the concert indoors, but The Northwinds Symphonic Band played a Patriotic Pops Concert Wednesday night for an appreciative crowd at Brenau University’s Pearce Auditorium in Gainesville.

The annual concert, presented by The Arts Council’s Smithgall Arts Center, which was also the original venue, opened this year with the “Star-Spangled Banner” performed by Northwinds — a group of local adult musicians started by conductor Evans in 1984. Wednesday’s songs included “American Salute,” “God of Our Fathers,” “America the Beautiful” and other patriotic numbers both somber and spirited.

Vocalists before intermission included Jonathan Jackson — a Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputy during the day — singing “An American Trilogy,” Michelle Martin singing Patsy Cline in a red and white, star-spangled cowgirl outfit accompanied by David Fry’s soulful saxophone, and Sgt. Maj. Brian Heis narrating “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Ushers passed out small U.S. flags at the door and the audience stood for the opening “Star-Spangled Banner,” many with their hands over their hearts. Red, white and blue clothing was abundant, and some wore shirts resembling U.S. flags. One Flowery Branch resident, Angela Pascarella, wore a small hat with stars and stripes.

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