Several area communities are planning patriotic events in honor of Independence Day. They include:

Westminster College

Westminster College will host an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration with a free concert at 7:30 p.m. July 2, and a free concert and fireworks at 7:30 p.m. July 3. Both events will be at Brittain Lake.

Thursday’s concert will feature the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus in Anderson Amphitheater next to the lake. Seats will be set up in the amphitheater and guests may bring their own chairs for lawn seating.

Dr. R. Tad Greig, Westminster assistant professor of music and director of bands, will conduct the Field Band for “American Salute,” Morton Gould’s classic American tribute based on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

The Soldiers’ Chorus, a 29-member mixed choral ensemble, is the vocal complement of the Field Band. Their music covers a variety of opera, Broadway, barbershop, and Americana styles.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating, as well as picnic baskets and refreshments. Food vendors will be on site.

The Eintracht Maennerchor Singing Society will be on hand for the National Anthem and the Battery D 229th Field Artillery of the Pennsylvania National Guard will supply howitzer fire during the 1812 Overture. New Wilmington resident Kathy Bressler-Mansell, choir director at Clen-Moore Presbyterian Church in New Castle, will join the band for “God Bless America.” The evening will be capped by a fireworks display by Pyrotecnico.

In case of rain, both concerts will be held in the amphitheater.

Info: 724-946-7371.


The Mercer Community Band will pay tribute to America’s heritage of freedom and independence with a concert featuring the theme “Patriotic Extravaganza” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 3, on the historic Mercer County Courthouse Square. Dr. Hendley D. Hoge will direct, with assistance by Kenneth Jewell.

The repertoire will include patriotic songs, hymns, marches, classical pieces, pop tunes and novelty numbers. Active and retired members of the United States Armed Forces in attendance will be recognized for their invaluable contribution to the nation, as well.

Featured instrumental soloist Heather Johnson, a French horn player, will perform “Concerto for Horn” by Richard Strauss.

Johnson, a native of Muncie, Ind., was a student of Fred Ehnes for nine years before entering the Curtis Institute of Music at age 17. She has performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio, Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, and the Philadelphia Big Brass, as well as at numerous festivals.

She performed for six years as the associate principal horn with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. She also frequently appeared as a soloist on television and radio, and maintained a private teaching studio.

Newly arrived to Western Pennsylvania, Johnson continues to teach and freelance extensively.

Featured vocal soloist Jonny Priano will perform “America the Beautiful,” “I Love a Sousa March” and “Before the Parade Passes By,” a showstopper from the hit Broadway musical “Mame,” and ”God Bless America,” the sing-along selection.

Priano, a Grove City College alumnus, is a music instructor in the Wilmington Area School District. He leads four choirs in the high school and middle school levels, while teaching general music.

He is a member of the professional core for the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and performs on a regular basis with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Musicians Concert Band of Slippery Rock and the gospel group Greater than Four. He has been involved in many theatrical productions as a member of the pit band and crew.He is also a published choral composer.

Warm-up entertainment will be provided by Mixed Greens at 6 p.m. The talented trio will offer traditional Irish, Scottish and American folk music, including jigs, reels and waltzes.

The Mercer Band Boosters will host an old-fashioned ice cream social and sell fresh pop corn throughout the evening.

In conjunction with the concert, three vintage red, white and blue vehicles will be on display as a preview to the Mercer Community Band car show on Aug. 8.

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held in the Mercer High School auditorium.

For more information, call Dr. Hoge at 724-699-9124.


Harrisville's Community Day event begins on July 3 with amusement rides from 5 to 10 p.m. On that day only, tickets are discounted by $2 if you bring a nonperishable food donation for the Feed My Sheep Food Cupboard in Harrisville.

July 4 is the main day of the event: The parade kicks off the day at 11 a.m. Rides also open at 11 a.m., and though donations for the food pantry will still be accepted, the discount on ride tickets will no longer apply. A home run derby is at the park field at 4 p.m., and there will also be entertainment by Clint Wandle Entertainment, crafts, demonstrations, a Chinese auction and plenty of food.

A fireworks display by Paul Lowers ends the night at 9:30 p.m.

Grove City

Grove City will host its 12th Annual Fourth of July Celebration at 7 p.m. July 4 on the Grove City College Robert Thorn Football Field.

The Harrisville Community band and the Air National Guard Military Band of the Mid-Atlantic will perform.

Fireworks will be at 10 p.m. by Kellner’s Fireworks.

The Grove City American Legion Post 220 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 519 of Grove City have donated 2,000 American flags to be given to those who attend the program at the football field.

All college parking lots will be open. Handicap parking and restroom facilities will be available. The event and parking are free to the public through donations from the Borough of Grove City and Pine and Springfield townships.

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