A Musical Salute to America’s Veterans to be presented
By Jack Kintner
The Mt. Baker Theatre will ring with a musical tribute to Veteran’s Day weekend this Saturday evening as the Ron Davenport Chapter 169 of the Vietnam Veterans of America presents, “A Musical Salute to America’s Veterans and Those Now Serving.”
The show, written and directed by Sandy Wolf, features the Mt. Baker Toppers under the direction of Doug Boersma, the Soundscape Chorus from Canada, the Vocal Works Quartet, a Big Band jazz ensemble and the Honeybees.
Songs that inspired American soldiers of five generations provide a framework to tell the story of a soldier who leaves home to fight overseas. The story is intended to be generic, applicable to all vets, but can only do that by including specific experiences and features from different periods of American history.
“It’s technically a pastiche,” Wolf said, meaning a story told with a wide variety of different elements and features. The word comes from an Italian synonym for pizza, a pie with a wide variety of ingredients. The idea here, she said, is to include vets from all ages and situations in a tribute that honors them all with music and the spoken word.
The audience will hear the story told through readings of actual letters to and from home to real soldiers in a variety of combat situations. Wolf herself has a son-in-law serving in Iraq. The letters are read by John Sayler, another Wolf son-in-law, are based on actual war correspondence found in Andrew Carroll’s War Letters and Studs Terkel’s The Good War.
The serious tone of the two-hour show is interrupted halfway through when a planned visit by a USO touring show featuring Bob Hope is scrubbed due to weather. But the show within a show must go on, and a surprise host is found, someone who turns out to be much funnier than expected.
The departing soldier, Joe Sheridan, is played by Dan Newell, and his wife Mary and son Bobby who stay behind are played by Mary Ershig and Kari Miikki. Bob Hope’s funnier stand-in is played by veteran Bellingham stand-up comic Doug Ogg.
Admission is free to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Reservists and National Guard who attend in uniform. For everyone else it’s $15. Proceeds will support veterans programs throughout Whatcom County, including the Disabled American Veteran Transportation Program to the Seattle VA Hospital, Whatcom County Veteran Relief Fund Program that helps needy veterans, American Legion Boys State and Girls State Programs, and the local Vietnam Veterans of America Scholarship Program.
Tax deductible donations can be sent to Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 29885, Bellingham, WA 98228. Please note “Musical Salute” on the check. For further information call 371-5688 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.