This November marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and the end of World War I. In honor of this significant anniversary and the many veterans who have served through the years, the Dubuque Chorale, its chamber choir Cadenza, and the Dubuque Chorale Children’s Choir present their fall concert, Verses of Valor: A Salute to Veterans.
According to Amanda Huntleigh, the Dubuque Chorale’s new Artistic Director, the concert “juxtaposes patriotic music with the myriad responses veterans and civilians have to war.” Musical offerings will include settings of poetry that evoke World War I as well as traditional patriotic pieces, and the three choirs will finish the concert by singing together an uplifting rendition of “God Bless America.” Huntleigh finds great worth in using music to explore themes of war and sacrifice. “I think there is value in immersing oneself in beautiful, and sometimes uncomfortable art. We will offer our gratitude for our veterans through music, as we try to give voice to the complexity and humanity of military service,” she says.
Karmella Sellers, Director of the Dubuque Chorale Children’s Choir, is emphatic about the importance of honoring veterans for their work defending so many of the freedoms we enjoy. “As the children’s choir director, I believe part of my job is to educate children about the history of music we may be doing. Although some children may have family members who are active duty or veterans, many do not,” she points out. “Any chance I can take to make them aware of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women is an opportunity I take.”
For Dubuque Chorale President Teresa Eckhart, the concert subject matter hits very close to home. “We should take every opportunity to thank those who risked and gave their lives to protect our country. It’s personal for me as both my mother and father were in the army in WWII, and their sacrifice, hard work, and dedication served as a model for my generation.”
Sellers agrees. “I am blessed to call many veterans family and friends. They deserve our utmost respect and loyalty.”
Verses of Valor: A Salute to Veterans will be performed on Saturday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 4, at 2:00 p.m., at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Dubuque. A free-will offering will be taken. Before each performance there will be the Presentation of the Colors and all will be invited to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Eckhart hopes that people of all backgrounds, veteran and otherwise, will attend. “Come to the concert and remember and reflect on all the wars and those who stepped up to keep us safe and free.”