KHS holds Veterans Day Concert

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Nov. 15, 2011
Retired Gunnery Sgt. Gaetano Mazzarella speaks with Chorale members Majenta Sinardi and Alexandria Kinder after the concert. Photos by Denise Coffey.
Retired Gunnery Sgt. Gaetano Mazzarella speaks with Chorale members Majenta Sinardi and Alexandria Kinder after the concert. Photos by Denise Coffey.

The third annual Veterans Day Concert was held at Killingly High School auditorium on Nov. 10. More than 300 audience members were treated to performances by the Killingly High School Symphonic Band, Jazz Is Vocal Ecstacy (JIVE) and the Concert Chorale.

Sponsored by the Freedom Loving American Guardians and the Killingly Music Program, the event included the Posting of the Colors by the Danielson Civil Air Patrol, remarks by F.L.A.G. Chair Rich Hall, Danielson CAP Major Bill Flynn, and KHS band director Jeff Ethier. Eight-year-old guest speaker Madison Pestey read her essay, “Veterans,” that garnered her F.L.A.G.'s 2011 Outstanding Young American Award.

The concert featured 36 chorus members and 66 band members. They performed “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Where the Black Hawk Soars,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Amazing Grace,” and “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

KHS choir director Pamela Rodgers said it was good to give students a chance to show their appreciation to veterans. “There's something very moving about youth singing patriotic songs,” she said, “and for the veterans to hear them.”

KHS band director Jeff Ethier said that he chose the songs his band performed for their beauty and their arrangements. He called Robert Smith's arrangement of “Where the Black Hawk Soars” a majestic score. “Imagine the flight of a soaring Black Hawk through the sky,” he said as he introduced the piece.

He called Frank Ticheli's contemporary arrangement of “Amazing Grace” a tapestry of colors. “'Amazing Grace' has a lot of emotion attached to it,” Ethier said. “It centers around patriotism and people can identify with it.” But the contemporary version gave the students a chance to grow musically, he said. “It's good to expose them to different pieces.”

Both Rodgers and Ethier gave kudos to the students for their performances. The chorale and symphony had only practiced one time together before the concert. “The warmth and depth of the sound you get out of the full ensemble is just beautiful,” Rodgers said.
“It was a great experience to work with the chorus,” Ethier said. “The kids really got to appreciate each other.”

F.L.A.G. Chair Rich Hall recognized all the veterans sitting in the auditorium. With a POW and U.S. flag behind him, he called on all veterans to stand. Three were active duty servicemen from the U.S. Army in attendance: Staff Sgt. Jamar Whitehead; Staff Sgt. Richard Maloney; and 2nd Lt. Benjamin Nault. They were saluted by their fellow veterans and given a standing ovation by the audience.

Pestey reminded the audience in her essay that we can all do something for veterans. “We can all raise money,” she said. “We can donate time. We can write letters. We can fly a flag. Never forget what these people have done.”

Hall ended the evening thanking all the veterans and telling the audience, “I hope you take away a sense of pride in the military and in the country.”

Pastor Rick Davis gave the invocation and benediction. The KHS student government provided a reception following the concert.

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