Patriotic spirit hit a high note on September 7 with the Fourth Annual Patriot Day Remembrance Concert, held at the Oxford United Methodist Church. The concert combined instrumental and vocal performances with a poetry reading and an audience participation sing-along."I can hardly see because my eyes are so full of tears from the wonderful music and patriotic spirit," said tenor Carl Fretz as he took the stage to perform "I Love Life."
The concert began four years ago as a way for local musical group, the Oxford Trio, to showcase local talent and to give back to the United Methodist Church. The Trio is comprised of Julia Farber on the French horn, Nancy Pedrick on the piano, and Janice Mahan on the violin. They performed several pieces, including the opening prelude, "Oblivion," "Just As I Am," "All that Jazz," and "Thanks for the Memory."
The program began with an opening by Reverend Ben Taylor, then the audience hushed as the melodies began. Gerald Cox performed "This Land is Your Land," accompanied by Nancy Cox, who said while taking the stage, "I'm so proud to be an American. I've been a flag waver since I was knee-high." Maggie Farber gave a reading of Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing."
Additional song performances included "Anyway," sung by Chris Hamilton, "The House I Live In," sung by Tony Elia, "Gold," sung by Becky Welk and "Battle Hymn of the Republic," sung by Carlene Fretz.
Twice during the concert the audience sang and clapped along with songs such as "God Bless the USA,"
"Home on the Range," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and "America the Beautiful." "I just love community singing. We don't get enough of that," said Julia Farber. "It's special to me to sit in a room with everyone singing. You can feel the power."
Janice Mahan agreed, saying, "This is something our country needs right now."
Oxford resident Kathy Gordon commented, "Hearing all the voices together and how amazing it sounds-it gave me chills."
Adding to the spirit of patriotism was a visual display of hand-made quilts, provided by Friendship Quilters.
Sandy Day said, "We issued a challenge to our quilters to use red, white and blue, and they delivered." Quilts of valor, often made with a patriotic theme, are used to honor war wounded.
Donations were split between the church and local charities, with this year's proceeds benefiting both the church and the Oxford Senior Center.