O’Malley’s band plays with the Baltimore symphony

O’Malley’s March had a little more muscle than usual on Sunday night.


Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley during a performance last summer at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

The abbreviated performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra — part of the ongoing “Sailabration” in Baltimore — featured all O’Malley-penned originals, two of them about Baltimore.

It was the shortest O’Malley’s March gig since an appearance in March at a White House reception but one heard by one of the semi-retired band’s largest audiences, politely seated at the Joseph Myerhoff Symphony Hall.

“My wife says he’s pretty good for a Democrat,” chimed in one middle-aged audience member dressed in perfectly pressed Navy whites, who was sitting in the fourth row.

On the same bill, the BSO debuted “Overture for 2012,” a Philip Glass composition commissioned jointly for the occasion with the City of Toronto. And the crowd was treated to a performance by the U.S. Navy Band Seachanters Chorus.

“We’d like to encourage you all to sing along,” O’Malley said before launching into the final song in his set, “The Battle of Baltimore.”

The song celebrates the people of Baltimore and the role they played in a pivotal battle of the war — in 1814. Given it will be another two years before that battle’s 200th anniversary, there should be plenty more time to celebrate, O’Malley noted.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.

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