News Release
University Affairs Office
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    June 29, 2004      File #
    Contact: Alan Kleinschmidt, (707) 664-2179


A 'Rhapsody in Red, White and Blue" Set for July 4th Concert at Green Music Festival

Seattle’s dashing, enormously talented, and versatile conductor Alastair Willis heads a concert of great American classics by Cohan, Copland, Gershwin and Gould at the fifth annual Independence Day on the Green this summer at Sonoma State University.

The program kicks off the Green Music Festival season on Sunday, July 4 at the campus lakes area. As the sun goes down, the most spectacular fireworks show in Sonoma County, featuring musical accompaniment, will light up the sky.

Willis, a favorite choice of Yo Yo Ma to conduct his Silk Road Project, appears with Festival artistic director Jeffrey Kahane in a program highlighted by Kahane’s stirring performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody
in Blue.”

Willis, the associate conductor of the Seattle Symphony, leads the Santa Rosa Symphony at 7:30 p.m. in an entertaining roundup of American classics – from Gould’s “American Salute” to Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” to Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and “ An American in Paris.” A sing-a-long of George M. Cohan works is also featured.

Kahane says “Rhapsody in Blue” is a true American icon.” I've played it more times than I can count and still have a great time playing it,’ he says.

Gates open at 4 p.m. for pre-concert activities that include games and music for kids. Hot Lips and Fingertips start off the afternoon music at 4:30 p.m. Concert goers can picnic throughout the afternoon as boxed dinners, hot dogs and á la carte sandwiches, as well as excellent Sonoma County wines, will be available. Visitors can also bring their own picnic dinners and dine by the beautiful campus lake area of the University.

Tickets range from $10 to $55. Both lawn and reserved table seating are offered. For tickets and information, call toll free (866) SSU-FEST or (866) 778-3378, or visit the website at

The campus is located 40 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Festival moves to its permanent home, the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center at SSU, when it opens in a few years.


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Last Modified: 06/29/2004