Thursday, July 01, 2010

Music in Plymouth

Wednesday night, Plymouth residents were treated to perfect summer weather, light breezes, and no mosquitoes, to stage its thirty-eighth annual Music in Plymouth event at the Plymouth city center. Residents literally began staking out their claims with blankets and tarps about twenty-four hours before the event began, according to Plymouth police, who expected over 15,000 to attend.

The Republican-endorsed SD43 Senate candidate Norann Dillon maintained a low-key presence, greeting concert-goers with campaign stickers and business cards. She appeared to be very relaxed and upbeat, and told me that door-knocking neighborhoods was going so well that she almost hesitated to stop doing that to be at Music in Plymouth. Republican HD43B candidate Brian Grogan was also working the hometown crowd energetically but without signage and a big campaign presence.

Dillon's opponent, incumbent DFLer Sen. Terri Bonoff, had numerous t-shirts, balloons, and stickers on display in the crowd. We chatted for a few minutes about her trip to Israel in November last year, an unofficial trip at personal expense taken with some fellow legislators (including Republican HD43A Rep. Sarah Anderson), their spouses, and friends. (Well, why spoil either of our evenings by talking politics!) The campaign of Audrey Britton, Anderson's DFL challenger, was distributing stickers but I did not have a chance to meet the candidate.

I said hello to the stunning (politically incorrect but everyone acknowledges it) Kelli Slavik, mayor of "Money Magazine's 2008 Best Place to Live With Populations of 50,000 to 300,000," as Plymouth residents have been reminded constantly for about a year now. At last night's event, with several thousand residents on blankets and folding chairs, and eating barbecue, roasted corn on the cob, and frozen custard, listening to great music including the Minnesota Orchestra, with the newly-expanded Millennium Gardens just down the path, it sure felt like the magazine's award was well-deserved.

The grand finale of the evening was a concert by the Minnesota Orchestra, a spectacle in itself, topped by a truly awesome fireworks display in the cloudless night sky. Many of the fireworks were new, and the displays were plentiful and well-timed to the music. Speaking of music, it was delivered by the festival's (what I like to think of as) God's Own Stereo System, a megawatt beast with sound so clear and accurate that during Sousa's The Liberty Bell march, I had to look back at the stage to make sure that the Minnesota Orchestra hadn't returned to play it. The most memorable pieces during the fireworks were an inspiring a capella men's choir medley of armed services songs, and Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA during the thunderous fireworks finale.

Music in Plymouth 2010 was five hours of summer classic, star-spangled community bliss.

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