Marking Memorial Day with music at Green-Wood

Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery saluted America’s heroes as the city’s talented musicians performed the greatest hits of some of Green-Wood’s most famous residents as well as patriotic favorites at the 16th annual free Memorial Day Concert on May 26.

“It is a way to memorialize and commemorate the veterans and those who gave their lives in service of our country. It’s been building. It was fairly small when it got started, and yesterday we had over 2,000 people,” said Director of Development and Marketing at Green-Wood Cemetery Lisa Alpert.

Held at Green-Wood’s Gothic Arch, the concert featured the ISO Symphonic Band, a wind, brass and percussion ensemble composed of high school students and led by founder and conductor Brian Worsdale. Jonathan Musgrave served as assistant conductor, while Maggie Worsdale was this year’s co-host and vocalist and Timothy Stoddard sang tenor.

Green-Wood also had its first ever veteran conductor with Retired Chief Master Sergeant and Vietnam veteran Edward Schloeman serving as a guest conductor for a John Philip Sousa piece in the first half of the program.

People set up their blankets as they listened to selections from Green-Wood’s most famous residents included Broadway lyricist Fred Ebb, 19th-century composer and pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Leonard Bernstein.

The concert featured patriotic favorites like “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America,” as well as the anthem of each of the armed services. Alpert said that while these anthems played, veterans were asked to stand as they received loud and moving applause from the crowd.

“We always say when we do public programs like this, it harkens back to Green-Wood’s beginnings, back in 1838. Back in those days, Green-Wood was the only big green open space available in the two separate cities of Brooklyn and New York,” said Alpert. “And back in the 19th century, and this was before there was a Prospect Park and Central Park, people frequently came to Green-Wood to picnic. We really feel that we’re making a full circle.”

“At the heart of Green-Wood is a rich history and memories of those who have gone before us,” added Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood Cemetery. “Many who call Green-Wood their final resting place fought hard for the freedom we enjoy today. This event pays tribute to all of the men and women who fought and died in the name of that freedom. I would like to thank Brian Worsdale and the talented musicians for this stirring tribute to our nation’s heroes who call Green-Wood their home.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.