Civic Orchestra concert to honor veterans

The free performance today commemorates the 62nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
Sunday, December 7, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:24 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Patriotic melodies will echo through the halls of Columbia’s historic Missouri Theatre tonight to honor Pearl Harbor veterans and remember all those who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

The free concert by the Columbia Civic Orchestra starts at 7 p.m. Hugo Vianello will conduct.

Orchestra manager Bruce Gordon said the concert will honor all veterans who have served in foreign wars.

Vianello, the conductor laureate and a World War II veteran, said the performance will celebrate Americana with a patriotic emphasis.

“The music will employ indigenous American melodies with a pops sensibility,” Vianello said.

The orchestra will perform nine selections without intermission. The hour-long performance will include “Americana” by Arthur Harris and “American Salute” by Morton Gould, as well as two original compositions by Vianello.

One piece, “Cantus Funebris For Fallen Heroes,” Vianello said he finished writing the morning of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The song commemorates all those who have served our country,” Vianello said.

Vianello’s “Devotion” celebrates two lovers who met during the war. The couple the piece is based on were married after the war concluded, Vianello said.

Vianello served as a radio operator on a B-29 bomber and flew missions near the Philippines and the Mariana Islands toward the end of the war.

His service in the military opened doors for his musical career.

“Without the G.I. Bill, I wouldn’t have had the money to go to college,” Vianello said.

He graduated in 1951 from the Manhattan School of Music with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Since graduating, he has played and conducted music across the United States and around the world.

Vianello is also the founder of the Missouri Symphony society, which operates the Missouri Theatre. The theatre is located at 203 S. Ninth St.

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