Veterans saluted by ERHS band, North Suburban Chorale

The Drum and Fife Ensemble consisting of (from left) Emily Sederstrom, Ivana Arrington, Tabetha VanDeventer, Abbey Sharp and Jenny Rose played "Belle of the Mohawk Valle." (Photos by Bruce Strand)

The Drum and Fife Ensemble consisting of (from left) Emily Sederstrom, Ivana Arrington, Tabetha VanDeventer, Abbey Sharp and Jenny Rose played “Belle of the Mohawk Valle.” (Photos by Bruce Strand)

 

by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

Love of country and gratitude to our military veterans resonated once again at the annual Veterans Day Concert presented Monday evening by the Elk River High School bands and director John Rosner.

“I thought the concert was pretty cool,” said Don Walentiny, who served in the Marines in the late 1960’s, and has a son, Eddie, in the band. “It’s nice to get some recognition (as a veteran).”

Josh Gearou solo's on alto sax for "America the Beautiful."

Josh Gearou solo’s on alto sax for “America the Beautiful.”

Robert Koehler of Elk River, who served 27 years in the Navy, saluted during the playing of the national anthem, accompanied by wife Virginia.

Robert Koehler of Elk River, who served 27 years in the Navy, saluted during the playing of the national anthem, accompanied by wife Virginia.

Patriot offerings such as the Drum and Five quintet’s the peppy “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (marching through the crowd in revolutionary war attire), the ERHS Concert Band’s “God Bless America” and the Black Elk Jazz Ensemble’s “America, the Beautiful” with stirring solos by Josh Gearou (alto sax) and Elizabeth Budahn (vocals) got things going.

After a brief intermission, emotions raised even higher. The ERHS Wind Symphony’s played “Armed Force Salute” as Rosner called on veterans of each branch

A new feature was the display of many local veterans' and current military photographs including this sailor whose granddaughter is in the band.

A new feature was the display of many local veterans’ and current military photographs, including this 1960’s sailor whose granddaughter is in the band.

to stand and be applauded as their song (“Marines Hymm,” “Anchors Aweigh,” and so on) came up, after which Carter Schunk played “Taps” for the fallen. The North Suburban Choral, directed by Duayne Malewicki, delivered an eloquent “Battle Hymm of the Republic” with the Wind Symphony accompanying.

Something new this year: Photos of about two dozen current and former military personnel, many of them relatives of band members, were projected onto the walls with their names and information, to the solemn strains of “An American Elegy” lasting about 10 minutes.

The photos, including many deceased, evoked an emotional reaction. “When they put those pictures up, that was kind of sad,” said one 84-year-old Navy veteran, misting up. He added, “I enjoyed the evening very much.”

The closer, as always, was the concert band and wind symphony joining forces with “Stars and Stripes Forever,” which inspired the crowd to wave flags that had been handed out and clap their hands for rhythm.

Black Elk Jazz Band members Bridger Smith, Carter Schunk, Sydney Heinen and Aaron Dwyer were supplying the brass for "American Patrol" here.

Black Elk Jazz Band members (from left) Bridger Smith, Carter Schunk, Sydney Heinen and Aaron Dwyer were supplying the brass for “American Patrol” here. Smith later played “Taps.”

North Suburban Chorale sings "Battle Hymm of the Republic."

North Suburban Chorale sings “Battle Hymm of the Republic.”

John Rosner directs the band.

John Rosner directs the band.

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