The conductor, Mr Simon Gower strode purposfully down the aisle between a massed, expectant audience to his podium. In response to his incisive gestures the percussion and brass called the audience, including the mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Candy Vaughan, to attention with Aaron Copland’s stirring Fanfare for the Common Man. Thus began Eastbourne Concert Orchestra’s concert celebrating American music on Tuesday 4th July – US Independence Day – in the Eastbourne Town Hall. The strings provided a reflective spell with the profoundly emotive Adagio by Samuel

Barber before the riotous Danzon no. 2 by Arturo Marquez.

Demand to attend the concert was so great that seldom-used and obscure store rooms in the Town Hall had to be ransacked for extra chairs. All types of American music were included: film music (The Magnificent Seven), Swing (two pieces by Glenn Miller), musical theatre (medleys from West Side Story and of Cole Porter songs). Latin America was represented by the Marquez Danzon as well Mexican Hat Dance and two pieces by the Venezuelan composer, Teresa Carreno. Inevitably the concert ended with a rousing rendering of the American marching anthem The Stars and Stripes

Forever, during which a tickertape cannon was fired, showering the orchestra with red, white and blue pieces of tape; it was as well that the orchestra were wearing American hats. The last few items on the programme were each received with jubilant applause.