North Bands Perform at Veterans Day Concert

Ellis Owen and Max Fang

Jadyn Murvine, Staff Writer

The 16th annual St. Charles North Veterans Day concert was held Friday, Nov. 11 in North’s auditorium. The concert was performed by the Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony and was their first performance this year. 

The ensembles performed a variety of marches and salutes. Each piece was chosen to honor veterans in one way or another. The veterans were also honored in other ways, including having the veterans stand when their branch’s song was being performed. The color guard presented the flags, and the Wind Symphony played the national anthem. The whole concert was wrapped up in a finale of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the national march. 

“[T]he reason that it’s really unique is that it’s a performance that isn’t designed to be about [the performers]. The entire experience is framed as a celebration of veterans,”  Kevin Dobbeck, a band director at St. Charles North said. Most concerts in D303 schools are framed around the students getting to perform and show off their hard work, but in this case, the concert is meant to honor the veterans, not the students.

This concert is important because it gives a real purpose behind the art students are creating. “To us it seems like it’s just this little thing that we’re doing, just putting a concert on for them, but to them, it means the world to them. And for the students to see that, it really gives them a lot of meaning and purpose behind what we’re doing, because you can change somebody’s life with your art, and that’s a pretty powerful thing to experience when you’re 15, 16, 17 years old,” Dobbeck said.

Olivia Burgan, a sophomore who performed in the concert, enjoyed the opportunity to speak with veterans. “Speaking to the veterans was also really nice, because a lot of them got to tell their stories and why they served,” said Burgan. 

“I was so impressed with the honor and the respect that was given to all the veterans. I deeply appreciate that,” said veteran Peter Booth, who served for two years in the US Army from 1968-1970, having joined right out of college, trained and chosen to be a military police officer. Unlike many others in his company, he was assigned to the Panama Canal overlooking Panama City and not Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

“It was a life-changing experience,” said Booth, reflecting on his time in the military.

It’s important to remember not only the veterans’ sacrifices but those of family as well. “The thing that really impressed me is they recognized and honored the wives and daughters and mothers and all,” said veteran Narvin Epperson, who served from 1951 to 1974, over 18 of those years being in the Air Force, the rest in the Army. He began serving when he was 17 years old and went overseas to both Guam and Vietnam, serving in the computer analyst field.

“My wife and I enjoyed [the concert] very much,” said Epperson. 

In many settings, veterans are simply thanked for their service, and this concert is a way to truly honor and give back to them. 

“Our students are sharing their art with [the veterans]. It’s more of a gift to them than anything. So the importance of it is that we want to make sure that the veterans in our community understand how important and thankful we are for them,” said Dobbeck.