Showing posts with label Founding Fathers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Founding Fathers. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Coming to America

It took a local concert to briefly snap me out of my funk.

We live near a local theatre, the Eissey Campus Theatre, of the Palm Beach Community College. Over the years we’ve seen some wonderful performers and concerts there, subscribing to series featuring The Florida Sunshine Pops, a 65 piece orchestra under the direction of the venerable Richard Hayman who at the age of 18 started as a harmonica virtuoso in the Harmonica Rascals and became a leading arranger and conductor. And he is still conducting an orchestra at the age of 88!

The series always includes some of the finest singers – light opera and Broadway voices – and the genre is generally the Great American Songbook, my favorite.

The first concert of the season, last night, was Coming to America -- Celebrating The American People, Armed Forces and the individuals who chose America. It was a night filled with memorable patriotic songs and marches. One of the very talented singers was Teri Hansen, a soprano, who has that something extra for the stage – a great presence, a performer who gives her all to an appreciative audience. One of her numbers was a rousing rendition of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B and during the orchestral interlude she boogied down to the front of the stage and grabbed me out of my seat and we did a Jitterbug, one of the two dances I’ve mastered (the other equally complicated one being the Twist). I think Teri was a little surprised.

But the surprise was mine, walking to our car afterwards, remarking to Ann that the night had a special meaning to me because the outcome of the election made the patriotic theme all the more poignant. Where else but in the United States of America can a Barack Obama rise to the highest office? I wrote an open letter to the then Senator Obama about my hopes last May:

The greatness of this nation is its ability to constantly reinvent itself. I wonder what Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin would think of their masterpiece that has managed to survive wars, both internal and external, slavery and reconstruction, depression, assassinations, and the constant ebb and flow of the political tides and, now, more than 200 years later, faces an epic economic crisis. Looking back at some of my prior postings, I lost sight of this underlying strength, our best hope of avoiding the fate of other great nations throughout history. It took a refrain from the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B to remind me of our capacity to rise to such challenges.