Just like a wedding, this year's Fourth of July concert by the W.D. Packard Concert Band will feature something old, something new and plenty that's (red, white and) blue.
Thomas Groth, executive director of the band, tinkered with the format for the show that brings thousands to the south lawn band shell at Packard Music Hall to celebrate Independence Day.
''We wanted to present a good program of music and entertainment for the people of Warren, per the wishes of W.D. Packard, and this was the best way to go for this year's concert,'' Groth said.
Some elements were untouchable.
There will be a medley of Armed Forces songs, Peter Tchaikovsky's ''1812'' overture will build to the finale, and the concert will open with the ''Star-Spangled Banner'' and close with John Philip Sousa's ''Stars and Stripes Forever.'' But regular concertgoers will hear some different things in between.
The program led by guest conductor Stephen L. Gage will include some patriotic selections the Packard band will be performing for the first time.
When You Go
WHO: W.D. Packard Concert Band Fourth of July concert with Stephen L. Gage, guest conductor, Helen Welch, vocalist and Warren Mayor Doug Franklin, narrator
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday with Zambelli Fireworks display to follow.
WHERE: South lawn band shell, Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren
HOW MUCH: Admission is free, and funding is provided by the W.D. Packard Trust. For more information, call 330-841-2931.
One of those is a John O'Neill composition called the ''Fourth of July Polka.''
''It was commissioned by the Nevada Symphony Orchestra for their Fourth of July concert, and quite a few symphonies perform it,'' Groth said. ''We came up with a band arrangement for it. Polkas are a big part of this area, and we felt it would fit in with what we do.''
''America the Beautiful'' will be accompanied by a monologue about America's battle for independence delivered by Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.
''I wanted to have a narration on this,'' Groth said. ''I've gotten to know him (Franklin) over the last few months and I just thought he would be a natural to come over and do that.''
Another new song is an Earl Wilson/Lewis Allan tune that's most associated with Frank Sinatra.
''I've always wanted someone to sing with the Packard Band Frank Sinatra's 'The House I Live In,' which is also known as 'What America Means to Me,''' Groth said. ''So I contacted Jerry Ascione, who's worked with us before, and had him arrange it so we could present it at this concert.''
''The House I Live In'' will be sung by Helen Welch. She performs regularly with the Big Band Sound of Packard and has appeared as a guest vocalist with the full band before, but this will be her first appearance on the Fourth of July concert.
Welch will be featured on several selections, including ''Over the Rainbow,'' ''On a Wonderful Day Like Today,'' ''Zing Went the Strings of My Heart'' and the Gershwins' ''Strike Up the Band'' and ''I Got Rhythm.''
Other band selections include Sousa's ''Fugue on Yankee Doodle,'' Samuel L. Nestico's ''Sabrejet'' and a medley of Sinatra favorites.
And, as always, the concert will end with a bang with a fireworks display by Zambelli Fireworks.
''It's our largest audience of the year by far, and I think that's what performers live for,'' Groth said. ''The audience is appreciative of their efforts and is always very enthusiastic on the Fourth of July.''