2007-07-27 / Community

Celebrate Aviation History At RMAC Concert 8/5

'The NC-4 March'Commemorates First Transatlantic Flight

The RMAC will auction this Stephen Yaeger graphite drawing, The NC-4 Over The   U.S. Naval Air Station, 1919, at their Sunset Picnic Concert on August 5. The RMAC will auction this Stephen Yaeger graphite drawing, The NC-4 Over The U.S. Naval Air Station, 1919, at their Sunset Picnic Concert on August 5. The Rockaway Music and Arts Council (RMAC) Sunset Picnic Concert on August 5 invites residents and fans of marching band music to celebrate aviation history that happened right here in Rockaway. The Long Island Pops, under the direction of conductor, Dean Karahalis, will perform American composer Frederick Bigelow's "The NC-4 March," written to commemorate the courage and perseverance in America's first transatlantic flight, successfully completed by the NC-4 airplane.

Known as the "Flying Boat," the NC- 4 and its two sister planes, the NC-1 and NC-3, left Rockaway on May 8, 1919 from what is now the Riis Park parking lot. Treacherous storms caused the sister planes to become lost over the Atlantic Ocean, which forced them to land in 12-foot waves. The NC-1 ultimately sank and the NC-3 drifted backward for 205 miles to safety in the Azores, an island group in the middle of the Atlantic.

The NC-4 finally settled on the waters of Lisbon Harbor in Portugal on May 27, 1919, after its own harrowing journey. The flight, unfortunately, has almost been lost in the pages of history, its significance overshadowed by Charles Lindbergh's solo flight some eight years later.

Ironically, "The NC-4 March" has lost its place in the annals of marching music, played today only by a few high school and college bands for listeners who have no idea what it represents. The last time it was performed at any ceremony was at the Washington, D.C. Mall in 1969, where the restored NC-4 was proudly displayed.

The concert will take place on Sunday, August 5 at 6 p.m. at Ft. Tilden, just a short distance from where it all began. Listen to the foot-tapping music of "The NC-4 March," and be a part of another historic Rockaway first.

RMAC will be offering a framed, double-matted print of Stephen Yaeger's graphite drawing, The NC-4 Over The U.S. Naval Air Station, 1919, in a silent auction at the concert.

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