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Fresno State Symphonic Band salutes veterans

By | December 10, 2012 | News

December 7 is the day we honor the servicemen and women who defended our country during the devastating air raids at Pearl Harbor.  To honor these soldiers, sailors and others who have served, Fresno State’s Music Department and the Fresno State Symphonic Band presented a “Remember Pearl Harbor” concert Friday.

The concert took place in the Concert Hall. Men and women of all ages piled into the theater for the performance.  The music, conducted by Fresno State’s David Fullmer, included several different ensembles, some of which were written and widely known during the World War II era.

Selections played included “Hail to the Fleet,” written by Richard Maltby, and John William’s “To Awaken a Sleeping Giant.”  The concert included one sing-along with the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, one of Fresno State’s fraternity chapters.  The evening was capped off by a Russian Christmas song and a medley of American Christmas songs with a light twist.

The symphony included a multi-media presentation during the performance which showed footage of old naval warships, and guest speaker Paul Loefller narrated in between to inform the audience of the significance behind each economic move America was making.  Loefller gave a brief inspirational speech on the importance of remembering how much was sacrificed for America to be where it is today.

In attendance at the concert were several retired veterans and 92-year-old Navy veteran Charles Lishman, one of the few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors.  Lishman attended the concert with his wife of 70 years, Dorothy, and was in good spirits when he told conductor Fullmer he thoroughly enjoyed the performance from start to finish.

Loefller stressed how important it is that younger generations attend events like “Remembering Pearl Harbor.”  Loefller said that we must recognize the sacrifices made by the generations before us and remain thankful.

Chrysanthe Pappas, a Fresno State sophomore, was there supporting her brother and said she strongly supports the servicemen and women of this country.

“No matter how old an event may be, it still lives on in the hearts of everybody.  We are still deeply saddened by it and are still grieving for those people,” Pappas said.

Band members were excited at the opportunity to give a little back to the people who served before them.  Percussionist player and new addition James Ramirez said he is excited every time he gets a chance to play.

“I thought it was pretty spectacular.  The conductor was really involved with the veterans, and he was trying to pass on the knowledge to us, get us inspired with a bunch of these pieces,” Ramirez said.

The concert concluded around 9 p.m. but no one seemed ready to leave.  The event was interactive, and the audience honored all five major services during the “Armed Forces Melody” which included Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

The multi-media symphonic concert helped honor the remembrance of what happened prior to and after Pearl Harbor.

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