Thousands of Long Island residents gathered once again to ''Celebrate our Hometown Heroes'' at Long Island's premiere concert under the stars on Saturday night, July 15, 2017. The Long Island Orchestra, led by world-renowned conductor David Stewart Wiley, performed a program that included the traditional ''Armed Forces Salute,'' the powerful ''Mars'' from Holst's ''The Planets,'' and piece by the conductor, ''Celebration Fanfare.''
Special guest vocalist Islip High School senior Morgiana McDevitt accompanied the orchestra for ''The Star Spangled Banner'' at the beginning of the concert. The program also featured the debut of two pieces: ''American Tapestry,'' written by local composer Reynard Burns, and ''Festival Fanfare'' by David Winkler. The evening was topped off with the always incredible Grucci fireworks punctuating John Philip Sousa's ''The Stars & Stripes Forever,'' and ''El Capitan.''
Mrs. Lillian Barbash, the founder of the Islip Arts Council, first brought the NY Philharmonic to Heckscher State Park over thirty-five years ago. This concert is an important part of Long Island's cultural landscape and has been for many years.