by Daniel Hathaway
The troops were out in force for Cleveland POPS’ thirteenth annual Armed Forces Salute at Severance Hall on Friday, May 17 — not the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard who were honored in a medley of official songs, but in addition to the orchestra and its new Cleveland POPS Chorus, the evening featured a Joint Veterans Honor Guard, the Gates Keystone Club Police Pipes and Drums, the Mutual Gifts Gospel Choir (employees of Medical Mutual, who sponsored the evening) and a celebrity narrator, former Cavs star Austin Carr, aka “Mr. Cavalier.” All these participants were masterfully deployed and led by POPS conductor Carl Topilow, chorus master William Zurkey and gospel choir leader Jimmy L. Wilcher, Jr. in an evening of rousing patriotic and military-inspired music that brought the spirit of the Fourth of July indoors a few weeks early.
After a ceremonial entry by the honor guard, pipes and drums and a gospely version of the national anthem by the Mutual Gifts choir, those seventeen singers remained onstage for Kevin Bond’s God be praised with orchestral backup arranged by the POPS’s tubist, J.c. Sherman. Read the rest of this entry »