During last night’s concert, the president of the Knoxville Choral Society publicly announced that the group had commissioned composer John Purifoy to write a piece that will premiere during next year’s Veterans Day concert. They are currently seeking donations to pay for the work and the staging of the concert. The composition, titled “Chronicles of the Blue and Gray,” will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. The members of the Choral Society, including my wife, have been asked to mail pledge forms to potential donors.
The Choral Society has performed Purifoy’s work in the past. I loved “We Hold These Truths” at last year’s Veterans Day concert. This year, the Knoxville Chamber Chorale, a subset of the Choral Society, sang one Purifoy selection, “Democracy.” The members of the Chorale have great voices but the unfortunate arrangements for “This Is My Country” and “For Spacious Skies” took the joy out of those pieces.
The fourth part of the concert was the strongest. The East Tennessee Concert Band sounded powerful on “American Salute” and “Yankee Doodle.” The full Choral Society sang the anthems of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine Corps during the “Salute to the Armed Forces.” Veterans in the audience stood when their branch of the service was recognized. After the concert, a few of us commented on how perfectly the piccolos were played during “Stars and Stripes Forever.”