Veterans Day came last Friday.
The heralded year-ending Yuletide remains a few weeks down the road.
So the timing is perfect for tonight’s innovative blend titled “Home for Christmas: A Veteran’s Story,” a musical treat for any Cleveland and Bradley County area residents eager to savor the sounds of the season early and who still cling to the emotions surrounding another memorable Veterans Day following last week’s annual observance at the Courthouse Plaza.
Tonight’s concert kicks off at 7 p.m. from the beautiful First Baptist Church of Cleveland at 1275 Stuart Road. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Such gifts will be used to help fund future musical performances by the popular concert band which is comprised of musicians who play for the love of music.
Some are retired. Others remain active. All just want to be a part of something big, something entertaining and something that brings joy into the hearts — and the ears — of community audiences throughout our hometown.
The Greater Cleveland Concert Band has been a viable part of our community since April 2006. Anyone who has relished the pleasure of attending one of the group’s performances — whether over the Christmas holidays or other special occasions — knows this to be true. It is more than music. It is more than sounds that comfort the soul and soothe the ear.
It is a full production, one whose professional artistry could easily justify an admission. Yet only a modest donation is sought.
Also featured will be The Jazz Band and Vocal Rhapsody, a 16- to 20-member auditioned vocal ensemble from Cleveland State Community College is directed by Karen Dale. The vocalists will sing an a capella jazz arrangement of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and Camp Kirkland’s “A Salute to the Armed Forces.” They will be accompanied by the Concert Band.
Keeping in line with the patriotic theme, tonight’s program will begin with the presentation of colors by the Sons of the American Revolution Guard.
Once the Concert Band’s musical journey gets under way, it will become an all-encompassing, mesmerizing experience for what is expected to be a large audience. Leading all the way to America’s current campaign, “Operation Enduring Freedom,” tonight’s performance will include “Portrait of Freedom,” “The Bells of Christmas,” “Desert Storm Vanguard” and additional selections.
Tonight’s program also will include a special tribute to Jack Mitchell, Jazz Band drummer prior to his death last month. Dr. Jim Burns of Lee University will present a thoughtful narrative during the musical presentation.
Any community — regardless of size — that is so fortunate as to have a group of talented musicians who give of their time freely and without compensation is indeed a blessed community.
We have felt this way of our Cleveland hometown for many years. When the Greater Cleveland Concert Band came along, our pleasure and our blessing, doubled.
We encourage area residents to visit First Baptist Church tonight to enjoy some wholesome music that honors our veterans while embracing the vibrant sounds of another joyous Christmas season.
It will be a memorable night.
We hope those planning to enjoy it will be plentiful.