Let me start by saying, “Thank you Tammy Young and Jessie Barr of UA Rich Mountain.” These two women were instrumental in bringing the 106th Army Band of the National Guard to Mena for a performance on June 3rd. This past Sunday’s performance was truly enjoyable. The band performed numerous songs in their A Patriotic Celebration Tribute to Veterans. Not knowing what to expect, I took my seventeen-year-old son who is in the high school band; I should have taken the whole family! Their performance was invigorating and filled with audience participation, a little trivia, songs to capture any age as well as an inspirational piece to highlight each branch of our military as audience members who served (or those who have/had family members serving) stood during their branches hymn.
While the band was small, they represented five states: Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee and performed under four directors. Each director led varying scores of music. My enjoyment and surprise came as they played a medley of songs from Guardians of the Galaxy and Moana’s ‘You’re Welcome’. I also leaned over to my son, at one point, and asked if he recognized the song. A firm no was returned. It was the ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’. With each song came a little history of the number. My true favorites, however, made me reflect on how blessed and proud I am to be an American. Of course it started with the National Anthem but also incorporated ‘American Visions’, which traversed the scores of Yankee Doodle Dandy, Shenandoah, Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean, and America the Beautiful. This wonderful performance ended with an encore of ‘God Bless the USA’.
Thank you for a wonderful and reflective afternoon, for wholesome family entertainment, and the enjoyment of watching and listening to people (service men and women) whom I am grateful for in their dedication and sacrifice to protect and serve this country that I love.