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Gig Line: Oh what a night!

By Marsha M. Brown

Well wonderful people, if you couldn’t make it to the outstanding concert performed by the USAF band, Rhythm In Blue this past Monday night in Manteo, you missed a r-e-a-l treat! Oh, my goodness! It was WONDERFUL!!

The extremely professional 15-member jazz ensemble was hosted by Manteo First Assembly and warmly embraced by all who were privileged to hear them. Music spawning the eras pre-dating WWII forward filled the large sanctuary with sounds from every instrument you can imagine. Their inspirational message was obviously “love of country;” commitment to being A+ in their performance; pride in being enlisted professional military musicians and their overall patriotism was evident to all of us.

With great enthusiasm we heard memorable pieces of great work by a variety of musicians including American big-band trombonist, composer, arranger and bandleader, Glenn Miller. WOW! It was so fun to be in the middle of it all! And funny? They entertained not simply with music but interjected some fascinating history, trivia and a few jokes. They captured the hearts of everyone in attendance and took many, if not most of us, for a stroll down memory lane. Their extreme talent moved us to tap our feet, snap our fingers, clap, cheer, whistle and smile . . . a lot!

They were funny too, especially the gentleman I worked with in coordinating the event, Mark E. Oates, Sr. who politely introduced each band member and gave a brief summary of their service and/or their future plans. Mark verbally extended the hand of friendship to everyone seated sincerely thanking us all for coming; he made us laugh and he (they) played a variety of musical tunes including my personal favorite, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” from the 1940s. And . . . rather than our Preacher Becky (Pastor Steve Smith’s wife, Becky Smith) utilizing a video she had on hand featuring each military branch theme song, Mark and company played the songs live and while doing so Pastor Steve turned up the lights so all of us could see and applaud the veterans who were present stand while “their” song was presented so beautifully. And Melissa, the soloist member of the band? Her voice was as beautiful as her face and she took the time to go into the audience to shake the hand of e-v-e-r-y veteran who stood up. It was so special to us that she showed our veterans that respect on behalf of all the Air Force band members and her gesture personally touched each one of them! And then, at the end of their performance, they played “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and with that, eyes wept, heads were either bowed in reverence or chins were up with eyes toward the heavens as if to say, “Thank you, Lord!” It was seriously an incredible performance, but especially Melissa who sang it from her heart and in a powerful, powerful way far exceeded our expectations.

Did I think of my “sweetie pie” Billy? Did I feel his empty seat beside me? Don’t get me started, especially when I saw other precious, dear widows seated a few rows in front of me and in the middle section of our church who missed their “sweetie pies” too. Yes, the night was heartfelt and unforgettable. What a night . . . what a treat . . . we ALL so appreciated that Rhythm In Blue came to entertain, sing, educate, inspire and impress us.  To Mark, Melissa and the entirety of the band . . . we thank you and we truly love you all! Each one of you are First Class, top notch and super stars in our eyes!

Hopefully, Rhythm In Blue will come back to see us next year or soon after. In the meantime, we feel blessed to have hosted them and we thank them profusely for their dedication and service to our country of these great United States of America!

Please don’t forget to VOTE – a lot is on the line for our candidates and for our American way of life.  Consider strongly the candidates listed on each ballot; talk with them in advance of voting (if you have the chance) and by all means pray about who you cast your vote for. At this point in our nation, it is critical that we choose wisely! And if you have a comment to share with me, or you know a veteran who needs some help, write to me at giglineheroes@aol.com or call my cell: (252) 202-2058.

Until next time, be happy, be healthy and be safe! Love each other . . . be the best person you can be and never forget that your kindness or concern for others could change their life. I love you all, God bless you and by all means . . . stay tuned!

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