Concert will commemorate Battle of the Alamo

The 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo will be commemorated with a symphony concert starring rock and pop star Phil Collins, bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs and the San Antonio Symphony.

Concert will commemorate Battle of the Alamo
Thirty senior noncommissioned officers from Fort Sam Houston and Air Force military personnel from Randolph and Lackland Air Force Bases pose with the Alamo Rangers and singer Phil Collins following the memorial service at the Alamo. Each military member carried a flag during the ceremony that represented the state and nation of the defenders of the Alamo.

Surrounded by Daughters of the Republic of Texas members, Skaggs and local dignitaries, Virginia Van Cleave, DRT Alamo Committee chairwoman, announced the concert, in collaboration with the city, Monday morning at the Emily Morgan Hotel.

“The concert is our way to commemorate the heroic stand of the Alamo's garrison,” Van Cleave said. “We extend an invitation to everyone to join us and remember the Alamo through music.”

The free concert will take place March 5 on an elevated stage at Alamo Plaza.

Other scheduled events include a flyover by United States Air Force jets trailing red, white and blue smoke, and recorded statements from former presidents and Hollywood actors and actresses. The San Antonio Symphony, led by musical director Sebastian Lang-Lessing, will play patriotic songs, including the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “Texas, Our Texas,” at sunset.

In addition to singing his hit songs, Collins will read from one of the last letters written by Alamo commander William Barret Travis.

DRT director of marketing and development Tony Caridi said more performers are expected to join the lineup.

Skaggs told the crowd he's excited about performing at the event.

“I'm all about music, I'm all about history and always had a love of history of Texas and Texas independence,” said Skaggs, whose long gray hair hung to his shoulders. “It's a real honor to be part of this, and when I say honor, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”

Jack Fishman, president and CEO of the San Antonio Symphony, said his favorite concerts are the ones that “connect with the community.”

“Music expresses what words cannot,” Fishman said. “And to connect music to the history of the Alamo and freedom in America is a unique and special way to do it, and the symphony is incredibly grateful to be asked to participate.”

Alamo historian Bruce Winders said the addition of music is an appropriate way to reintroduce the Alamo to people, especially a new generation. According to Alamo legend, drums and bugles were heard from the Mexican camps on the evening of March 5, 1836, and the nerves of Alamo defenders were eased by folk songs played on bagpipes and Davy Crockett's fiddle.

Winders said they wanted to reintroduce the Alamo to many people who learned about it through episodes of the Walt Disney television show “Davy Crockett” or the 1960 John Wayne movie.

“Not to say that was a historical account of what happened, but it said this is a wonderful story and really made many people have a lifelong love affair with the Alamo,” Winders said. “But we're reaching out to a generation that hasn't seen the movie and says ‘Who's John Wayne?'”

He said the concert would introduce people to music played during the era and is an opportunity to discuss the Texas Revolution.

“When they go away, they'll say it wasn't just a movie, but a real event,” Winder said. “We want people to remember the Alamo.”

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