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August 17, 2010

USAF Heritage of America Band, Fifes and Drums Premiere Special Arrangement of “America the Beautiful” During Constitution Day

Merchants Square and Colonial Williamsburg celebrate the founding of the U.S. Constitution with “To Support and Defend,” the second annual event featuring the USAF Heritage of America Band, at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17 on Duke of Gloucester Street in Merchants Square. Through powerful, moving music and the spoken word, the framework of our nation’s government and cherished founding document will be honored on the anniversary of its adoption.

The premiere of a new arrangement of the familiar melody, "America the Beautiful," specially written to feature the Heritage of America Band and the Fifes and Drums performing together – bridging more than two centuries of musical performance practice. Selections by the Fifes and Drums, along with band works by eminent American composers William Billings, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and John Philip Sousa, also will be performed.

The program also features guest narrators including Colonial Williamsburg interpreters Ron Carnegie as George Washington and Stephen Moore as James Madison and Raymond Jones of WHRO.

Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. For current information about this free event, go to the Merchants Square website at or call the Merchants Square Events Hotline at 757-259-0209. In the event of inclement weather, the rain date will be Saturday, Sept. 18. If poor weather conditions prohibit holding the event outdoors on Sept. 18, the event will be moved to the auditorium of Warhill High School on Sept. 18.

The Heritage of America Band has a proud tradition of entertaining the American public and promoting esprit de corps within the military. Stationed at Langley Air Force Base, the unit strives to inspire the hearts and minds of our men and women serving around the world and to tell the Air Force story through the power of music. Consisting of several musical ensembles, the Heritage of America Band performs for more than one million people throughout a six-state region from Pennsylvania to South Carolina each year.

Merchants Square, the shopping and dining district adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg’s renowned Historic Area, is home to more than 40 shops and restaurants. Most of the stores and all of the restaurants are locally owned and operated. Locally owned specialty boutiques offer products ranging from ladies, men’s and children’s apparel to fine jewelry, art, specialty foods and gifts.

In 2005 Merchants Square was added to the National Register of Historic Places along with the Williamsburg Lodge and the Williamsburg Inn to make up the Merchants Square and Resort Historic District. In 2009 the American Planning Association named Duke of Gloucester Street in Merchants Square one of America’s Top 10 Great Streets.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121