Wolf Trap presents series of ‘Thank You Community Concerts’ this weekend

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Wolf Trap's Thank You Community Concerts (Part 1)

Wolf Trap is officially back open for in-person shows after a year of pandemic closures.

So what better way to celebrate than a series of “Thank You Community Concerts,” saluting frontline workers, education workers and health care workers?

“If we’re going to take our first steps out of a pandemic and start getting back together as a community, it really is important to honor those who have helped us get to that point,” Wolf Trap President & CEO Arvind Manocha told WTOP. “We’ve all needed a lot of help … getting us through the medical implications, then all of the teachers who have had to keep kids learning.”

The series kicks off with the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic on Thursday.

“Their music director this year is Marin Alsop, who is really one of the world’s greatest conductors, and this will be her debut at Wolf Trap,” Manocha said. “The NOI is made up of student musicians, some of the best around the country, who come to Maryland every summer as part of an intensive musical education experience. What a wonderful way to showcase these talented young people.”

Next, The President’s Own U.S. Marine Band presents Free Country on Friday.

“The Marine Band has a bunch of different ensembles within the Marine Band, [including] ‘Free Country,’ which is the Marine Band’s contemporary music group,” Manocha said. “They do covers of all sorts of great classic pop, rock, R&B over the last 40 years. … You’ll hear music by Jason Aldean or Aretha Franklin; it really covers a very wide range.”

The President’s Own U.S. Marine Band returns for Big Band on Saturday.

“It’s a jazz big band,” Manocha said. “The composers you might hear on that program go from Count Basie to Billy Strayhorn to Benny Goodman, as well as some more contemporary jazz. But when you think of a jazz big-band ensemble, you think of that classic period of big-band music in American history — and that’s what you’re going to get when you come to that concert.”

The President’s Own U.S. Marine Band wraps with “50 Years at Wolf Trap” on Sunday.

“They will create a program to celebrate 50 years at Wolf Trap,” Manocha said.

In the end, it’s the least that Wolf Trap can do to say thanks.

“How can you not honor frontline workers?” Manocha said. “As a society, we can never say thank you enough. We can all be in awe of what they’ve had to go through to help keep us safe and help keep our children learning. This is an expression of gratitude, just one small drop in an ocean of gratitude that I hope the frontline community is feeling from everybody in society.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Wolf Trap's Thank You Community Concerts (Part 2)

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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