BERLIN — In their first concert of their summer series, the Three Second Rush Concert Band, a contingent of the 102nd Army Band, brought a wide array of tunes to the Tribute to Veterans Concert last month at the Berlin Veterans Memorial Park.
Instrumental pieces dominated the lineup, especially jazz and blues, however a few singers stood in front of the band for a few songs, such as Working at the Carwash by Rose Royce and the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by The Andrews Sisters.
Middlefield resident John Augeri, an Air Force veteran, said the singers were so good they could’ve performed on a Hollywood stage.
“I enjoy this kind of patriotic music and the atmosphere it brings,” he said. “I think it’s the greatest thing.”
Augeri hopes the concert will inspire more recognition of the military and respect for veterans.
“There’s got to be more people in appreciation of this … these people deserve a lot more than what they get,” he said.
Sergeant Nina Madison said she hopes the band forms just such a connection between those in active service and the veterans they honor at concerts like this. Of all the songs they play, she said the most impactful for her is the Armed Services Medley, when veterans from each branch stands up for their hymn.
“It gives them a moment to be honored,” she said. “Really what we do is for them.”
With lawn chairs and blankets set up on the park stretching from in front of the gazebo, where the band played, to the parking lot, Madison said the concert was a great start to their tour, which is made up of 13 shows.
“It was such a great way to kick off the concert series,” she said. “It makes me so proud to be in uniform.”
Berlin Veterans Commission member Joe Casso, who organized the concert, said he was overwhelmed by the support they received. This was the second year the commission has held the annual free concert at the park; last year they hosted Vinnie Carr and the Party Band.
“It’s an opportunity for veterans to forget their troubles,” and enjoy some of their favorite songs, he said.
Casso said he was especially proud to be able to host an active duty band that could identify with local veterans and play songs with special significance to them. Before the band even started to set up, Casso said they noticed the plaques and memorial to the conflicts American soldiers have fought in and asked for a tour of the park.
“These 30 soldiers are the most talented musicians, ensemble and singers that I’ve ever heard,” he said.