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On Saturday, the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra presents a concert of all American music, described by director Sheldon Bair as “over-the-top in variety and entertainment.”

It’s easy to see what he means. The program begins with “The Fairest of the Fair,” a John Phillip Sousa march, followed by Symphony No. 1, “Afro-American,” by William Grant Still, the dean of African-American composers.

According to Bair, the third movement, or scherzo, features a four-string banjo part, which will be performed by Tim Landers playing a computerized guitar. Lincoln University provost, Dr. Grant D. Venerable, will lead each movement with poems by black poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.

“Still’s music is music that can be instantly enjoyed-good tunes, jazz-infused harmonies and rhythms, and expert orchestration,” said Bair.

The second half of the concert features local talent and SSO favorites, beginning with New Jersey composer Patrick Burns’ “Remembrance” for strings, written in the aftermath of 9/11. Brian Folus will conduct The Little Gift from “The Darfur Chronicles” by local composer Benny Russell. Iowa composer Tracey Rush’s “Spirit of Freedom” will be followed by Sheldon Bair’s Variations on Be Thou My Vision, which he describes as having “hints of Celtic style and a powerful ending.”

Closing the program will be the inspirational “I Choose the Mountain,” written by Bel Air composer Stacey Zyriek. Originally composed for use in a U.S. Army motivational video in 2008, the piece has been orchestrated by Sheldon Bair. The composer’s daughter, Emily, 14, a student at C. Milton Wright High School, will be the featured soprano soloist.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the new Bel Air High School on Heighe Street. Advance tickets ($12 for students, $15 for seniors and $17 for adults) can be ordered online from or purchased at Preston’s Stationary or MusicLand in Bel Air, Joyful Sounds in Forest Hill or at Noteworthy Music LLC in Fallston. If available, tickets at the door cost $2 more.

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