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America's spirit to be heralded in local concert

By Ed Brock

The tables are all sold out for the Tara Winds Concert Band's "Salute to the Spirit of America" concert, but there's still plenty of room on the lawn.

And if enough people call before the April 26 event concert organizers will order more tables, Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Sumerlin said.

"If it goes well we hope to have it as an annual event," Sumerlin said.

The concert, dubbed by Sumerlin as a "community building" event, will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the lawn in front of the old Clayton County courthouse on McDonough Road in Jonesboro. Other sponsors of the concert include the Clayton County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the News Daily, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners and the city of Jonesboro.

"It's our first big event on the courthouse grounds so I'm very excited," Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day said. "I hope people will come out to celebrate our patriotism and at the same time celebrate the rebirth of the downtown area."

Originally organizers had 25 tables they offered for $40 each, just enough money to cover the cost of renting the tables and other costs of the concert.

"If there's sufficient response we will have more tables," Sumerlin said. "Anybody can come out and sit on the lawn on a blanket and enjoy the concert."

And the concert will be something to see, Tara Winds founder and conductor David Gregory said.

"It's going to be a wonderful tribute to America," Gregory said.

Tara Winds is an all-volunteer adult band with 90 members that is entering its 15th year of operation. They hold a "Music of the Season" concert each December and in the spring they hold concerts to benefit the band's scholarship fund through which they have distributed $60,000 in the past seven years.

The "Spirit of America" concert will open with the "Star Spangled Banner" and include American folk tunes, marches by composers like Edward Franklin Goldman and John Philip Sousa. They'll even be a special version of "76 Trombones" from "The Music Man."

Amber Harris, the band's soloist, will sing "America the Beautiful," "God Bless America" and a big version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," Gregory said.

"That's just absolutely stunning. It's a show stopper," Gregory said.

For more information on the concert and to put your name on the waiting list for more possible tables, call (770) 473-0848.