Patriot Act

Blossom orchestra leader raises a baton to cheer on Old Glory.

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Cleveland theater
Blossom Music Festival conductor Loras John Schissel has given himself a fair amount of leeway in choosing the repertoire for tonight's An American Salute concert and pyrotechnic display. But one thing is certain: He must end the show with the patriotic favorite the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. "You can't have the fourth of July without it," says Schissel. "I think someone would shoot me if I didn't play it."Before the cannons pop and fireworks light the sky, the orchestra will also blow out America's birthday candles by playing Broadway hits from West Side Story. It will also tackle more traditional holiday fare by John Philip Sousa, whom Schissel dubs "the Elvis of his era."He also admits that a rubber chicken will mysteriously make an appearance onstage. "It's a hoot to have 16,000 people here. I love the festivities at the lake as much as anyone. People should come here for the concert, and I don't know if there's any better place to watch fireworks," says Schissel, who makes the annual pilgrimage from his home in Washington D.C. to lead the orchestra in its Independence Day show. "It's not just a patriotic concert, but also about funny music and funny moments." Schissel picks up the baton at 8 tonight at Blossom Music Center, 1145 West Steels Corners Road in Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets are $10 to $42. Call 216-231-1111 or visit
Fri., July 4, 8 p.m., 2008

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