CHESTER - Those who fought with bravery and valor to keep America safe and free were honored Thursday during "The Freedom Concert: A Salute to Veterans."
The Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band filled the Harv at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort with the sounds of jazz and patriotic tunes during a free concert sponsored by Mountaineer, the Herald-Star, The Weirton Daily Times, The (East Liverpool) Review and the (Lisbon) Morning Journal.
Veterans and Tri-State Area residents crowded the amphitheater to hear jazz classics like Duke Ellington's "Harlem Airshaft," and others as the big band performed its only indoor concert of the summer.
PERFORMANCE — The Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band on Thursday night filled the Harv at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort with sounds of jazz and patriotism for “The Freedom Concert: A Salute to Veterans.” The free event was sponsored by the Herald-Star, The Weirton Daily Times, The Review and the Morning Journal. -- Jeremy Kins
John Stewart of East Liverpool served from 1968-70 in the Army during the Vietnam War.
"It's very nice. I've always been patriotic and I love this country. Patriotic music always gives me goosebumps, said Stewart.
"It's time we saluted the veterans. They need all of the people knowing how proud we are of them," said Nancy Hart of Leetonia.
The Jazz Ambassadors is comprised of 19 members and was formed in 1969.
In addition to touring the United States, the band has appeared in Canada, Mexico, Japan, India and throughout Europe. It has played at international jazz festivals in Montreux, Switzerland; Newport, R.I.; Brussels, Belgium; and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. In 1995, it performed in England, Wales, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Three area students - Francesca Torini of Steubenville High School and Austin Wade and Nicholas Harris, both of East Liverpool High School -were offered a chance to sit in with the band for a selection.
"I'm very excited. I saw them in concert a year-and-a-half ago and they pulled students onto stage there, too. I thought, wow, those guys must be good. Then I was called, and it is a great opportunity and I'm incredibly excited to be here," said Harris.
"I'm nervous, but jazz music is my favorite kind to play, so this is very exciting for me," said Wade.
"It's intimidating, but I'm very excited. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Torini.
The last big draw of the event was the band's "Armed Forces Salute," which specifically honored the veterans, recognizing those who fought for freedom and liberty.
(Kins can be contacted at email@example.com and followed via his @jkinsHS Twitter account.)