For the Review
On a cold, rainy November evening, the McMinnville Community Center was filled with the charged warmth of patriotism.
In a collaboration of more than 150 students and four conductors, the Linfield College Department of Music and the McMinville High School Symphonic choirs came together to honor America’s men and women of service.
As the flag was presented, the concert opened with an emotional performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Many members of the audience were veterans. Some students involved in the performance felt a connection to Veteran’s Day as well.
“My grandfather was in the Army, and I really felt a personal connection with the audience,” senior Jeneva Foster said. “They really connected with and appreciated what we were doing. I also have a Linfield friend who has just joined the Air Force, so it was nice to play for them, although they weren’t there.”
The night was not only patriotic but inspirational as the concert band performed “Elegy for a Young American,” which was written for President John F. Kennedy after his assassination Nov. 22, 1963.
After the opening ceremonies, the Linfield Jazz Band took the floor, with tunes such as Benny Goodman’s “Stompin’ at the Savoy” and Woody Herman’s “Woodchopper’s Ball.” Feet of audience members were tapping throughout the building.
As the concert continued, the audience learned that in a bill enacted Dec. 11, 1981, “Stars and Stripes Forever” became the national march of the United States.
“Jazz completes me,” sophomore Carolyn Blood said. “I love the ’40s era swing band songs, and I was honored to play what I listened to growing up. I think everyone in the building could not only see but feel the performers’ love of jazz. They really livened the evening.”
The evening closed with pieces such as “America, the Beautiful” and “Stars and Stripes Forever,” featuring the collaborative efforts of Linfield’s concert band and choir and McMinnville High School’s choir. With a full concert band and more than 150 voices, the songs produced an almost tangible emotion in the audience.
The peak of the performance came during “Armed Forces Salute,” as each branch of America’s services was honored. Members who served or knew someone serving in that branch stood and were honored.
“It was really neat to have that interaction with the audience,” Foster said. “You could really tell that they appreciated what we’re doing.”
Blood said while it was a challenge bringing three groups together, the effect was magnanimous.
Foster said it was difficult balancing the band and vocals at first. The first time they practiced together was the previous night at the dress rehearsal, Blood said. However, all the hard work and preparation paid off.
Professor of Music Joan Paddock said she was thrilled with the performance and happy to present the songs for everyone.