By Ed Simmons, Jr.
Bowling Green, VA
July 29, 2010
American patriotic spirit reached a high watermark in Caroline County with the performance of the 65-piece National Boy Scout Jamboree Band in Bowling Green on Monday evening, July 26. Arrayed with their backs to Café on Main Street and angling their brass instruments and drums towards the historic Caroline Courthouse, with spectators gathered round in semi-circles of lawn chairs under the tall shade trees, the Scouts began their concert with a unique, restrained and gentle rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" reminiscent of Aaron Copeland's "Appalachian Spring."
Bill Nelson was the Director, his eighth Jamboree performance in Bowling Green since 1981, and Mayor David Storke gave him and the Scouts a warm greeting. "You're always so kind and hospitable here," Nelson told the crowd. "We're here to pluck your heartstrings a little, to celebrate America and celebrate the Boy Scouts."
The jaunty Scouts all wore maroon baseball-style Boy Scout hats with their uniforms and short trousers, and clearly were enjoying themselves as they went on to play tunes like "The Big Brass March," "Hey, Baby!" "Buglers' Holiday," even "School's Out for the Summer" by Alice Cooper. Their grand finale included a medley of service anthems and a composition called "Salute to Freedom" which was also gentle and restrained, featuring the tunes of "Taps," "Amazing Grace," and "America."
The boys, coming from all over the United States and as far away as South Korea, practiced together for the first time this past Friday. Many in the audience remarked on their splendid performance, particularly given so little time to practice. A memorable and highly enjoyable musical and patriotic occasion, with the high temperatures passed and a steady breeze blowing, the performance of the Boy Scout Jamboree Band was the highlight of the Caroline County summer.