‘A feeling of pride’: Massachusetts Senator to be featured with Tri-County Symphonic band

Feb 7, 2024

MARION — From chairing the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means to campaigning across the South Coast, Senator Michael Rodrigues is no stranger to public speaking, but sharing a stage with the Tri-County Symphonic Band is a different kind of pressure.

“I’m not afraid of a crowd,” said Rodrigues, who represents the First Bristol and Plymouth District. “I’m afraid of disappointing the band because they are … amazing musicians.”

On Sunday, Feb. 11 he’ll be the featured narrator during the piece “Lincoln Portrait,” as a part of the Tri-County Symphonic Band’s “A Presidential Portrait” performance. The band is under the direction of Marion resident Philip Sanborn.

“Lincoln Portrait,” composed by Aaron Copland in 1942, includes quotes from some of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speeches.

Rodrigues said he got involved in this performance through Fall River’s Our Lady of Light Band.

“I’ve been involved with them for over 25 years,” said Rodrigues. “I’ve traveled with them … [I’ve done] narrating roles … I’m a big fan. Our Lady of Light Band joined forces with Tri-County [Symphonic Band] and they asked me to participate.”

During a Tuesday night rehearsal at Tabor Academy’s Fireman Center for Performing Arts, music swelled and punctuated lines spoken by Rodrigues.

“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us,” said Rodrigues, speaking from Lincoln’s 1862 message to congress.

But “Lincoln Portrait” is just one of many patriotic tunes the band will play at Sunday’s performance. The band will also perform William Schuman’s “George Washington Bridge,” Charles Ives’ “Variations on ‘America,” Victor Herbert’s “The President's March,” Andrew David Perkins’ “On Shoulders of Giants,” Bob Lowden’s “Armed Forces Salute” and three pieces by composer John Philip Sousa.

“There’s all kinds of music played in America but I think patriotic, thematic music like this still strikes a strong note with Americans,” said Rodrigues. “It instills a feeling of pride — especially listening to a band like this play it, it’s amazing.”

See “A Presidential Portrait” on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of Light Band Banquet Hall, 644 Quarry Street, Fall River. Tickets for adults are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. Purchase tickets in advance at The Symphony Music Shop in Dartmouth, The Marion General Store in Marion or online at tricountysymphonicband.org.