What a joy it was being in Gallipolis, OH over the 4th of July weekend. It has the feel of a Norman Rockwell community with friendly people, deep history, and a tradition of pride concerning all we hold dear as Americans. It was also wonderful being able to share in the roots of Phillip Armstrong, a founding member of 7, who is deeply loved and appreciated by the whole community of Gallipolis.
On the banks of the beautiful Ohio River some of the finest people in our country make their homes, raise their children, work and retire in a beautifully preserved piece of history called Gallipolis, Ohio. Not forgotten, not standing still and not behind in any of the exciting technologies of our world, they choose a lifestyle of depth and meaning. As one new friend explained, just because the buildings on our main street are old, doesn’t mean we’re old. I’m 82 and I can hold my own against the best of them on the Internet and I can beat most all of your young guys at shuffleboard and horseshoes. I’ll never forget the wonderful people of Gallipolis. While they hear the Mighty Sound, more importantly, those I met understand the Mighty Sound of Freedom and have no plans of surrendering any of theirs!
They rehearsed and then welcomed SEVEN to the stage of The Ariel-Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre for an up close look at the guys from Florida, California and Oklahoma who call themselves SEVEN. The conductor’s baton raised, the theater grew quiet. There was the pause. As the baton dropped on what has become a call to work for each member of SEVEN, rehearsal, under the direction of the Maestro was underway. It was not business as usual. This was different. This was more than just another gig. It seemed to me the players actually wanted to be there. They wanted to be on their “A” game because this was their town. Many in the audience would be their friends and family members. This was Gallipolis, Ohio and I, joined by the members if SEVEN, were honored to have been asked to join them in their Celebration of Freedom Concert in the Park.
Last week I had the opportunity to perform with SEVEN. It was an immense pleasure to work with a group of men who are not only extremely talented, but an exceptionally great group of men. The skill sets and backgrounds of the men in the group were as impressive as they were varied. I think that fact has a great deal to do with the strength of the group. All the men bring their own piece to the puzzle and it forms an exceptional ensemble with individual strengths that improve the whole.
I truly enjoyed the performance in Utah (it was a great event in a beautiful place), however, I must admit I'm really looking forward to being a part of the MIGHTY SOUND at the National Convention of The American Legion this week in Houston, Texas. Getting a chance to sing for the men in Wednesday's audience will be an honor. I'm looking forward to being part of the ensemble when it performs "There Stands a Hero" for the first time, and I'm also looking forward to singing "Salute to the Armed Forces" for the American Legion; I hope they all sing along!
I'm grateful for the opportunity to sing with such a wonderful group, and I hope I have the chance to sing with them again in the future.