Utah National Guard Hosts 51st Annual Veterans Day Concert Nov. 11

 

Written by Staff Sgt. Christiana Elieson

 

Published December 27, 2006

 

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 The 23rd Army Band and Jerry Floor perform "I'll Be Seeing You" before a crowd of 3,000 at the Huntsman Center.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

 The 23rd Army Band and Jerry Floor perform "I'll Be Seeing You" before a crowd of 3,000 at the Huntsman Center.

SALT LAKE CITY Toe-tapping. Inspiring. Thought-provoking.

 

These words describe the night of spoken words and music at the Utah National Guard’s 51st annual Veterans Day concert at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Center Nov. 11. 

The theme for this year’s event was “Remembering You,” and it called up thoughts of veterans past and those currently serving. Renditions of “Bring Him Home,” “Taps,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “America the Beautiful” and many other patriotic-themed numbers were presented by the Utah Guard’s 23rd Army Band, the combined Granite School District High School Choir and  soloists Jerry Floor and Don Fredley.

Master Sgt. Sterling Poulson and retired Lt. Col. Kent DeMars served as masters of ceremonies and provided a perfect mix of serious and lighthearted narration and commentary during the performance.

This commemorative stamp from the 1940s honors the four chaplains who went down with the U.S.S. Dorchester in 1942.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

This commemorative stamp from the 1940s honors the four

chaplains who went down with the U.S.S. Dorchester in 1942.

Of particular note was the playing of “Light Eternal,” a musical portrayal of the sinking of the troop ship U.S.S. Dorchester in the North Atlantic on Feb. 3, 1942. Struck by two Nazi torpedo blasts, the tragedy turned legendary when four Army chaplains on board gave up their life vests to save other Soldiers. As lifeboats pulled away from the doomed vessel, survivors saw and heard the chaplains, joined arm in arm, praying and singing in a final declaration of faith as the ship went down.

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, Utah National Guard adjutant general, keynoted the program with some to-the-point observations of the conflict in which the world is engaged today. 

“We are locked in mortal combat with an enemy that thinks in terms of decades and centuries. It is an open question whether or not we will prevail, but it will be a question of our citizens—and not of our Soldiers—who will make that determination,” said Tarbet. “Your military will not fail you. We will fight and win our Nation’s wars as long as we have your support.”

Clarinet soloist and former member of the Utah National Guard Jerry Floor delights the audience with "Sing Sang Sung."

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Clarinet soloist and former member of the Utah National Guard

Jerry Floor delights the audience with "Sing Sang Sung."

The program also included concert staples such as the playing of each military Service’s song while veterans stood to the delight and applause of the audience and the closing number, John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Chief Warrant Officer J. Mike Cottam, leader of the 23rd Army Band and veteran of 40 of the 51 Veterans Day concerts, turned in another charismatic and versatile performance as he directed several numbers and then gave the baton to Staff Sgt. Denny Saunders while Cottam moved over to the drums and provided percussion accompaniment.

“I  hope that all who listened and viewed were lifted. That’s what the object is: to touch hearts and lift spirits,” Cottam said.

Concertgoer Owen Denison confirmed that Cottam’s goal was reached.

“It was excellent,” Denison said.

Justin Harris, a Kearns High School senior and member of the Madrigals is a veteran of the Veterans Day concert, having sung at the 2005 event.

“I was more nervous last year and this year was more fun. I have relatives in the military. It’s a great feeling to be able to honor them,” Harris said. 

Fellow Kearns student Shannon DeLaMare added, “It was a cool experience.”

“It’s wonderful to hear the tribute to our veterans and servicemembers,” said Tarbet after the concert. “Every year tops the others.”

The combined choirs of 12 high schools from Granite School District provide music at the Veterans Day concert.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

The combined choirs of 12 high schools from Granite

 School District provide music at the Veterans Day concert.

Granite School District combined choir members wave flags during the playing of "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Granite School District combined choir members wave

flags during the playing of "Stars and Stripes Forever."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, Utah National Guard adjutant general,  keynotes the Veterans Day concert Nov. 11.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, Utah National Guard adjutant

general,  keynotes the Veterans Day concert Nov. 11.

Combined choir members link arms as they sing "Light Eternal" in honor of chaplains who went down with the U.S.S. Dorchester in 1942.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Combined choir members link arms as they sing "Light Eternal" in honor of chaplains who went down with the U.S.S. Dorchester in 1942.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concert violinist and Utah National Guard member Master Sgt. Ron Stevens accompanies the 23rd Army Band.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Concert violinist and Utah National Guard member

Master Sgt. Ron Stevens accompanies the 23rd Army Band.

Two soloists from the Granite School District combined  high school choir perform with the 23rd Army Band.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Two soloists from the Granite School District combined

 high school choir perform with the 23rd Army Band.