By Anne Eickstadt


On Friday, Nov. 11, Belvidere High School (BHS) choirs joined the nation’s tributes in recognizing and thanking veterans in respect for having served in United States’ military. The stage filled with 146 vocalists in the BHS musical program. They performed a special Veterans Day Concert at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

The theater filled with people coming to recognize the sacrifices and efforts made by veterans, particularly by veterans who had attended Belvidere High School. The program handed out for the concert contained a list of the BHS veterans from all branches of service.

Choir Director Karen Cantele, of Belvidere High School’s music department, planned and directed the event.

“The kids really came together and learned the music,” Cantele said. “It’s a lot to remember. They really understood that the music is about those who fought for us. It’s about them, not about us.”

The concert began with everyone rising for the “Star Spangled Banner,” followed by a “Salute to the Armed Forces” which was comprised of a medley of the songs of each branch of the military. Songs included the army’s “The Army Goes Rolling Along,” the navy’s “Anchors Aweigh,” the marine corps’ “Marines Hymn,” the air force’s “Wild Blue Yonder,” and the coast guard’s “Semper Paratus.”

The concert continued with a performance of “God Bless America” featuring guest vocalist and army veteran Cody Seimers. He graduated from Belvidere High School in 2008.

Then, trumpets played by Kris Wordon and August Winscher offered a “Tribute to a Fallen Soldier” with the song, “Because of the Brave.”

The song is a reminder that men and women serve this country to ensure the freedoms of all.

The Show Choir and Choraliers vocal groups joined together to sing the popular World War II song “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.” Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters made this song famous.

The song consists of the words of two lovers who pledge fidelity while one of them is away serving in the war. The song remained in first place on the ‘Your Hit Parade’ list from October 1942 through January 1943. It broke the record for a war song remaining in that first position.

The concert continued with “America the Beautiful” featuring snare drummers Lauryn Baier, Janette Jalbert, Brandon Keeney, and Josh Turnipseed.

Members of the community, and military veterans joined the school’s male vocalists in a rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The entertainment ended with the song, “From Where I Stand,” in which a military man explains that he will not betray the oath he made to his country when he joined the service.

“We performed a part of the show during assembly today,” Cantele said. “A veteran was so choked up by it that he had trouble giving his speech.”

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