A Musical Salute to the U.S.O. – The Unsung Heroes of Our Country

Olivia Booth

On Thursday, November 10th (Veterans Day), a concert was held at Henrico High School in reverence for the United Service Organizations (USO). The event included The Mighty Warrior Chorus as well as The Herb Stone Swing Band directed by Mr. Jim Hale.

The Herb Stone Swing Band aptly performed “Tribute to Glenn Miller,” a musician in the Swing Era. With music reminiscent of a Woody Allen film, the band played perfectly for an Autumn evening.

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Mr. Day welcomes everyone to the concert. Photo taken by Olivia Booth

Sound Sensation sang “Big City Beat” and The Early Bird Chorus sang “Rhapsody in Rhythm.” With both the singing and the choreography, the two groups were a huge success with the audience members who smiled all the way through.

The Concert Choir did an interesting, “Tribute to Commercial Advertisements of the 1940s,” in which they beautifully sang “It Had to Be You” and featured some commercial clips. Expressions performed “Swing, Swing, Swing”- if it wasn’t clear before that the event had a musical theme- it definitely was after that song which Glenn Miller composed. VocalBrass performed, “Tell My Father,” an impassioned song about war.

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The Early Bird Chorus dance during “Rhapsody in Rhythm”. Photo taken by Olivia Booth.

However, the performances that truly captivated everyone in the room were the renditions of “Day in Day Out” and “Orange Colored Sky.”  The two songs were sung by Elise Nugent, Genie Atran, and Journey Entzminger, who introduced themselves by asking, “Do you know the Andrews Sisters?”, subsequently declaring, “Well we’re the Henrico version.”  All three singers had powerful voices and -accompanied by The Herb Stone Swing Band- anyone blind would have believed them to be the real deal.

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Pictured left to right: Journey Entzminger, Elise Nugent, and Genie Atran as The Andrews Sisters. Photo taken by Olivia Booth.

Ahmir Lawson’s performance of “Fly Me to the Moon” was another one that had audience members screaming, laughing, and clapping. His voice was so akin to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” himself that I first believed Lawson was lip-syncing his way through the song.

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Ahmir Lawson singing “Fly Me to the Moon”. Photo taken by Olivia Booth.

Given that the event was hosted on Veterans Day, this common thread ran throughout. An American flag, which had been used during patrol in the Persian Gulf Conflict, hung behind the band and a few patriotic songs (“Stars and Stripes”) were played by The Herb Stone Swing Band towards the end.

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The Herb Stone Swing Band performing on stage. Photo taken by Olivia Booth.

The evening came to a proper close with a “Salute to the Armed Forces” in which flags representing each branch of the military (Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) were brought to the front of the stage. Those who had served in any one of the branches were encouraged to stand up and receive praise as the unsung heroes of our country.

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United States Navy Flag being proudly held by a Henrico student. Photo taken by Olivia Booth.

One of the performers, Journey Entzminger commented on the event as a whole. “I think the concert turned out pretty well. We put in a lot of hard work and it felt great to see the results of that work in such a tangible way. The band we played with was also really great. The whole experience was anachronistic and fun and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.”

On the 23rd of February, all Henrico High Schools will be partaking in a special concert at First Baptist Church Richmond.

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