Sunday, April 3, 2011

Those Beautiful Stars and Stripes

We woke up yesterday very early to make our way to Albany, N.Y. The views on I-87 were absolutely breath-taking. The mountains were covered with snow and just looked gorgeous. When I think of New York, I automatically think of New York City and the busy life of Manhattan and all the lights of Broadway. I had no idea New York had such beautiful mountain views, something I typically would think of to be in Colorado.

The show was a matinee at the historic Palace Theatre. The auditorium was stunning and reminded me of my own hometown’s performing arts center. I performed there often before joining the Sea Chanters and it brought back delightful memories of shows I’ve been in before. We had a great turnout for our show. The audience gave us a great boost of energy. Towards the end of our concert, the group sings a patriotic number by Dolly Parton and in the middle of the piece we sing an excerpt from “America the Beautiful.” At that point the stagehands lowered the American flag and it hung behind us with the lights shining brightly on those beautiful stars and stripes. Even though we were all prepared for it, I don’t think we were prepared for the audience’s reaction and a huge wave of patriotism flew into the air. It was overwhelmingly powerful and difficult to hold back tears.

I personally had the pleasure of meeting a retired admiral who served in the Navy for 26 years. He shared a little of his story and at one point worked with the Navy SEALs during his career. He also said the Sea Chanters did him, the Navy, and our country proud. It was such a delight meeting him today. Another woman personally thanked me and gave me a huge hug because the concert made her think of her father who served in both World War II and the Korean War. She had tears in her eyes and was overjoyed with our performance.

When the show was over and we packed up all of our equipment we headed over to the hotel, which thankfully was just a couple of blocks away. Each Sea Chanter was greeted when walking into the hotel lobby with a wonderful “goodie bag” from the brother of a former Sea Chanter. Thank you so much to Bob Van Vranken and his wife Lori. We will certainly enjoy the fruit and snacks! It’s the little things from generous people that make a big difference when we’re out on the road. Especially when we’re missing our families. Thank you so much!

Now it’s off to Rochester, N.Y., for another matinee at the Roberts Wesleyan College Cultural Life Center.

Musician 1st Class Sarah Tietsort is a soprano vocalist in the Sea Chanters.

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