Coshocton Choirs celebrate the Greatest Generation

| March 28, 2015

COSHOCTON – This year, the Coshocton Elementary and High School choir students have been saluting and celebrating the Greatest Generation by performing music from that era. In keeping with that theme, the students will perform a USO-style Choral Showcase on Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. with songs from the early 1940s. Songs that were popular during that era, including “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”, “GI Jive”, and “I’ll Be Seeing You” will be just a few songs performed that afternoon.

Tickets are not required and the event is free. Come early to eat at the canteen, which opens at 2 p.m. Hot dogs, donuts, and drinks will be available. Veterans who come in uniform will eat for free. The Sweet Adelines will also perform in the canteen before the show, dressed as women factory workers from the 1940s.

“Singing is important,” said Mike Blowers, Coshocton High School choir director, “It’s the way you sell your music. But it’s more than a concert. This is a community event. It has developed that way, not because of me, but when people hear about this, they get excited and start telling stories. Even though they were terrible years, they were good years because it brought people together. I think that’s why people are latching on to this. This is not about us. It’s about our community and a period of time in our community. We need to learn lessons from the Greatest Generation.”

In addition to providing old-fashioned entertainment to the community, the choirs are also asking for donations to put toward their tours to Wright Patterson Air Force Base and Patriots Point, Charleston, SC. Blowers began planning the tours last spring when he got the idea from a touring company that specializes in connecting historical events with tours. Blowers was intrigued by the synopsis of Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation” and, after doing research on the term, decided to focus on music from that era for this year’s theme.

“I like to do more than just a concert,” he said. “I like to connect the concert with the community and historic events.”

After talking with Tim and Teresa Ott, the USO-style show was born and a steering committee was organized to help plan the tours. The steering committee is independent of the Music Booster Club, which is partly sponsoring the trip with a $5,000 donation to pay for the bus, but the committee and club work closely together. Although the choirs have applied for grant money, more funds are still needed to make the two tours a reality.

The students have been busy all year raising money for the trips. They have sold candy bars, cheese and sausage, and had a chili dinner cook-off last autumn. They were also asked to raise 25 percent of their trip individually. The music department is not making any money on the fundraisers. All money raised will be used for the tours.

One way the community can help donate money to the tour is by submitting an In Honor / In Memory form honoring a late or current armed force family member or loved one. Forms can be picked up at The Coshocton County Beacon and WTNS Radio. Cost is $10 per name and the deadline to submit a name is Friday, April 10.

Both the elementary and high school choirs hope to be headed to Wright Patterson Air Force Base on May 15 for an overnight stay. The high school choir alone will then travel to South Carolina on May 27. Both tours are contingent on enough funds being raised.

“We’re talking to students who are so in to their cell phones and so in to their own moment, and it’s hard to get them to stop and go back to what the greatest generation gave us,” said Blowers. “But the kids are beginning to understand that there’s more to this than just giving a concert.”

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Category: Education

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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