Pittsburgh, PA. August 13, 2011
The orchestra played a performance at the Heinz Progressive Care Center; a veteran's resident hospital.
There was a bit of confusion about where we were going to play. After we set up in the outdoor pavilion, we were told that the veterans were inside the building in the Recreation Hall. The orchestra members went to help bring the veterans down to the pavilion—chatting with them as they made their way outside.
One orchestra member, Doug said "The veteran I transported served in WW II. He was in the Air Force at the end of the conflict. That gave me a chance to tell him about my dad and 4 uncles who served in WWII. Two of my uncles were killed in that conflict—one was on the USS Juneau, a cruiser sunk by a Japanese submarine."
The concert seemed to really strike a chord with these folks. We could see that many were singing along with the songs. They knew the words to many of the songs including "Blue Skirt Waltz" and "My Melody of Love"! We all could hear them singing!
It was clear that many of the Vets were deeply moved by the music; waving their hands in time with the music. One vet even stood up, though he was in a wheelchair, when Gary sang "Danny Boy" and through the entire medley of the Armed Forces theme songs sung by Gary and Emily.
We felt they appreciated having our company and the music. After the concert, several vets told us that "Ose Shalom" was a great number. They really liked "Hava Nagila", too. It was a truly fulfilling experience; chatting with and playing for these men and women who had sacrificed so much for our nation.