Period costumes, slideshows and video clips will be used to help tell the story of the development of the American music art form during Sherwood Baptist Church's "An American Anthology: Celebrating the Music of America." The program will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday in the church sanctuary. (Special photo)
ALBANY — There is much more to Independence Day than food and fireworks. Rather, the day is to commemorate the sacrifices others have made so that Americans can enjoy the freedom to do those things.
Sherwood Baptist Church seeks to do just this with its special worship program, “An American Anthology: Celebrating the Music of America,” at 6 p.m. Sunday at the church at 2201 Whispering Pines Road.
Presented by Sherwood’s Music Ministry, led by Worship Pastor Mark Willard, the program will reflect on the nearly 250 years of music that define many key times and events in America’s history.
That can be a daunting task in a country considered to be a “melting pot” of multiple cultures and ways of life, but according to Willard, the two-hour anthology will incorporate a variety of musical styles and sounds.
“We will play colonial and traditional patriotic music, and classic hymns from composers Fannie Crosby and Bill Gaither,” said Willard, “But we will also showcase musical styles such as jazz, Motown, rock, and doo wop.
“The orchestra will present a salute to the cinema, playing pieces of movie soundtracks that represent the golden age of Hollywood, and we’ll also have “special appearances” from Elvis, The Beach Boys, a classic barbershop quartet and The Supremes.”
Willard admitted he had fun perusing America’s musical history in preparation for the program, which has been something that the Sherwood Music Ministry has wanted to do for a while.
“We’ve always wanted to be able to integrate more musical presentation into our Independence Day celebrations, but haven’t been able to fully do that at an outdoor venue,” said Willard.
“With this program, we’ll be able to incorporate a lot more music, technology, and other elements that really help tell the story.”
And that story is that America was in founded on Christian principles, Willard said.
“America has such a rich musical history that brings to light all of the good things about this country that we can celebrate,” Willard said.
“And it was through God and for Him that this country was founded. Because we have the freedoms we have, we are able to reflect and celebrate our heritage. But, we need to continue to remember that our true freedom comes from knowing God and from serving Him.”
Whether attendees come to just hear quality music, celebrate the nation’s history or reflect on its Christian heritage, all can expect to be treated to a patriotic program that acknowledges the solemn fact that freedom does come at a cost.
“This country was founded as one nation under God – we’ve lost touch of that, of where we started,” said Willard.
“And that’s a message that we all need to be reminded of.”
An American Anthology: Celebrating the Music of America,” will begin at 6 p.m. at Sherwood Baptist Church. The event is open to the public and is free.