SHAMOKIN — Patriotism abounded amid rounds of applause and several standing ovations for the outstanding musical performance of “A Salute to America” by the Anthracite Symphonic Band. The concert, which was held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center (NCCAC) drew a crowd of nearly 200 visitors and stirred the hearts of all those in attendance.
Ticket sales from the $5 admission fee benefited the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities (NCCAH). The 42-member band was comprised of musicians age 18 to 80 and dressed in red, white and blue.
The 13 songs performed were a lucky number as far as the audience was concerned as they were treated to a wide range of musical numbers which told the story of American history. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “An American Fanfare,” “Fantasy on American Sailing Songs,” “Semper Fidelis March,” American Salute,” “Rails West!” “Kentucky — 1800,” “American Folk Rhapsody,” “Ashokan Farewell,” “The Civil War,” “Washington Post March,” “From Sea to Shining Sea” and “Within These Hallowed Halls.”
Toward the end of the program, soloist Sharon Styer, wife of director Kevin Styer, sang “Amazing Grace” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” both of which received standing ovations from the audience.
Styer also read excerpts from three historical writings and speeches in American history: the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address.
Afterward, she commented on the musical selections of the evening.
“This rendition of ‘America the Beautiful’ is extremely well written. I think it’s just a privilege to have the freedom to be able to come here and sing whatever patriotic songs we’d like without the fear of being chastised for it,” she noted.
A local Vietnam veteran from Coal Township, Paul Dressler, 9th Infantry Div., who was in the audience was impressed by what he saw and heard.
“I think we need more concerts like this today. Patriotism gives you that spirit of love for your country,” he said.
Sitting in his wheelchair, Carl Froutz of Mount Carmel added, “This was a wonderful performance. Mrs. Styer was fantastic.”
Several members of the audience were dressed in patriotic attire and everyone was pleased with the show.
“I’d never heard this band before. These musicians are very talented,” commented Alma Golazeski, of Shamokin. “There used to be a series of concerts many years ago in our area.”
NCCAH board members JoAnn Dobeck and Doreen Kushner were both pleased with the concert and turnout.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for members of the local community to showcase their musical talents,” said Dobeck.
Kushner agreed, adding, “It’s a wonderful start to the Memorial Day weekend.”
Shamokin Mayor John Brown commented, “Local talent, it’s on display here tonight.”
Brown’s wife Denise, who is also a candidate for city council, expressed her appreciation toward one musical family. “The Styers are a Godsend,” she concluded.