EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Atlantic Pops Community Band will hold its annual HERO Concert 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 17,  at the township Community Center.

What makes this concert stand out from the previous 10 is something quite special.

After the group's performance at Carnegie Hall in February of 2018, members wanted to do something unique and memorable right here in Atlantic County.

In doing so, they turned to composer and Washington, D.C.,-area native Robert Thurston. Thurston is noted for being the retired chief arranger for the United States Air Force Band as well as the author of the USAF Air and Space Museum Holiday Flash mob, a Youtube music video that went viral in 2013 and currently has over 3.7 million views and counting.

To that end, the band commissioned Thurston to write a piece that would not only represent Atlantic County but also to honor the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers. After months of conversation and collaboration between Thurston and Music Director Mark Kadetsky, they arrived at "Atlantic Rhapsody." The piece is exciting to both listen to and perform and is inspired by the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father," a very meaningful song to Bill and Muriel Elliot, the founders of the HERO Campaign. In addition to the premier, Thurston will take the podium to conduct "Red Hills Saga," an exciting Western-inspired tone poem as well as "Metropolis," a piece written by Thurston’s teacher, Charles Carter in 1955.

In addition to the world premier, the Atlantic Pops will perform several nautical and entertaining selections to celebrate and highlight the HERO Campaign's mission, including: "American Sailing Songs," "All the Pretty Little Horses," "Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song" and John Phillip Sousa’s "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Assisting Music Director Mark Kadetsky and Thurston on the podium for this concert will be Egg Harbor Township High School Marching Band director Ben Fong, High School choir director Dale Roeck and retired Pinelands Regional High School arts supervisor Ross Holman.

The Atlantic Pops have been providing live music and adding to the cultural landscape of South Jersey since 1998 and performed at Carnegie Hall in February of 2018. Their membership consists of 90-plus area music students, professionals, music teachers and community musicians. The Pops have proudly served as the ensemble in residence at the Cygnus Creative Arts Center.

For information about sponsorships and this or future concerts, email

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