August 20, 2008

New Holland Band Brings Sounds Of The Circus To The Fulton

By Anonymous

The circus came to the Fulton Sunday, but the animals and the acrobats stayed home. But the New Holland Band's concert, "An Afternoon at the Circus," did throw in a few clowns for laughs.

The master of ceremonies, WGAL news anchor Dick Hoxworth, asked the audience to go back in time and remember that one dusty, vacant lot where something "magical" happened at least once a year.

Alternating conductors Robert Shauback and Jere W. Fridy were at the helm and Frank J. Kaderabek (principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1975 until his retirement in 1995) ripped into a show-stopping piece called "The Friendly Rivals," in which he and a New Holland Band member battled it out on cornets.

The overture to "Orpheus in the Underworld" by Jacques Offenbach and John Philip Sousa's "With Pleasure," helped set the tone for the afternoon.

Throughout the proceedings, Ringling Bros. Clown College graduates the Crash Brothers (Chris Sheldon and John Hadfield), did some juggling, stilt-walking and a bit of old-fashion tussling on stage.

For the second half of the show, the New Holland Band played shorter pieces with names like "Crescent City March,""Ragged Rozey" and "Go Galop." Each song was written to accompany certain acts, from high wire acrobats to trick riders.

The conclusion of the program held a touch of irony for those up on their circus history.

The New Holland Band played its signature song, Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

Hoxworth noted that circus folks normally did not like to hear that particular piece of music, thinking of it as the "Disaster March," he said.

For years, "Stars and Stripes" was used as a traditional code signaling a life-threatening emergency.

Cueing the song helped theater personnel to organize the audience's exit without panic.

Otherwise, Hoxworth said, circus bands never play it under any other circumstances.

"But even though the song is not normally played at the circus, the New Holland Band will because it's their tradition," Hoxworth says. "And in my opinion, no one does it better."

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