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Daily Post patriotic concert to feature parachuters, varied playlist

SUWANEE -- With a combination of patriotic songs, classical pieces and old standards, the concert to kick off Memorial Day weekend will have something for just about everybody.

"We try to vary our playlist," said director Jack Randall of the Gwinnett Community Band. "If they don't like one part of the program, they'll pretty sure like another."

The concert on May 25 at Town Center Park, presented by the Daily Post, is in its ninth year of signalling the start of Memorial Day festivities around the area. The free event will feature the Gwinnett Community Band that will play patriotic tunes like "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Stars and Stripes Forever," but also a Mozart piece with a French horn solo, and a jazz number called "Harlem Nocturne."

"This concert is a great way to kick off your long Memorial Day weekend," said J.K. Murphy, publisher of the Daily Post. "The Gwinnett Community Band has packed the program with patriotic music."

Silver Wings, a command exhibition parachute team from the U.S. Army Infantry based at Fort Benning, is expected to arrive at 7:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic baskets, chairs and blankets.

City of Suwanee events coordinator Amy Doherty has requested the Silver Wings for five years, but weather has spoiled their visit twice. Doherty also brings in Skydive Monroe to provide an aircraft.

Doherty said the parachuters are a fascinating group of folks who will also stay around for pictures and autographs.

"We invite them because they are awesome," she said. "They land on a dime."

An annual tradition of canned goods donations for area food co-ops will continue. Doherty said anyone who brings three or more canned goods will receive a Suwanee green shopping bag.

More than half of the band's 13-piece playlist will have patriotic songs, Randall said.

The band plays at events at retirement homes and senior centers around Gwinnett County, Randall said, and will also play at a Fourth of July event in Snellville. Earlier in the spring, the band also played at arts festivals.

But this kind of holiday concert is unique, he said.

"It's nice at this concert that people come for the music," Randall said.