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Few Independence Day images are as iconically American as a community band playing on the village green. From the legendary Sousa Band to talented amateur ensembles, symphonic bands have tackled instrumental repertoire ranging from stirring marches to orchestral transcriptions to celebrate our national holiday.

Located right across the street from Black Mountain’s picturesque Town Square, the patio of the White Horse Black Mountain is a prime vantage point for viewing the town’s firework display following a rafter-raising, soul-stirring concert by the Land of the Sky Symphonic Band on Tuesday, July 4.

Founded in 1990 as a way of reuniting Enka High School alumni with their band director, the community band is the result of the high level of interest area residents had in being part of a wind ensemble like they played in in college and high school.

Through many changes of membership and directors, a core group persevered, raising standards by remaining small and choosing members by invitation or audition. Today, the Land of the Sky Symphonic Band is a 43-piece ensemble made up of skilled amateur and professional musicians.

David Wilken, the current musical director, is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University. He earned his master of music in jazz studies from DePaul University and his doctor of arts in trombone performance from Ball State University. He’s held teaching positions at several colleges and universities and is currently an instructor of music at Western Carolina University, as well as music director and lead trombonist of the Asheville Jazz Orchestra.

Stars and Stripes Forever

Who: Land of Sky Symphonic Band

When: 7 p.m. July 4

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $15 advance, $18 door

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