A musical tribute to members of the military set for Wednesday, May 19, will be heard by far more service members than are able to crowd into the Northland High School auditorium that evening.

A musical tribute to members of the military set for Wednesday, May 19, will be heard by far more service members than are able to crowd into the Northland High School auditorium that evening.

"Duty, Honor, Country: A Musical Salute to Our Military" will be recorded by Education TV for distribution in DVD to those serving overseas.

In addition, attendees who arrive a half hour before the 7:30 p.m. concert by the Northland Symphonic Band and Choir will have the opportunity to tape a personal thank-you to the troops.

"Duty, Honor, Country" is being sponsored by the Military Veterans Education Foundation, Northland Community Council, U.S. Army Recruiting Command and the Casto Co.

Tickets will be given out at the concert in exchange for a donation of canned goods for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Northland High School is located at 1919 Northcliff Drive.

The event had its beginnings last year when Bob Thurman, NCC vice president and head of the local Military Veterans Education Foundation, had a conversation with a recruiter about ways of saying thanks to those who are on their way to or have just come back from armed conflicts abroad.

"When we first thought about this ... that's when we came up with let's see if we can do a concert," Thurman said. "It kind of developed from there.

"I'm encouraged by the support we've gotten."

Posters for the event are being prepared for distribution throughout the community.

"It's coming together," Thurman said. "Everything's a go."

The musical side of things is coming together, as well, according to C. Rick Eckler, director of instrumental music at Northland High. "The program is set at this point, and I'm real excited about that and how it's going to work," he said last week.

When Eckler met with Thurman last winter and consented to have his young musicians, as well as members of the choir, under the direction of Janelle Guirreri, perform for the salute to the military, the name chosen for the event barely registered because of preparations under way for other performances.

Now, however, Eckler said the words of the title have provided him with specific themes for selecting the songs to be performed that night. "I let that mull around and all of a sudden different pieces fell into place," Eckler said.

"Honor," for example, will include local composer James Swearingen's "The Light Eternal," which tells the story of four chaplains who gave their lives so that others could survive the sinking of the torpedoed S.S. Dorchester off the coast of Greenland on Feb. 3, 1943.

"Country" will be reflected by the playing of "A Hymn for the Lost and the Living," which was composed by Eric Ewazen, an instructor at the Julliard School in New York City, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Even though Eckler and his students are doubly busy preparing for not only the May 19 military salute but also the traditional spring concerts May 4 and 6, the director feels the musicians will acquit themselves admirably.

"I'm just real pleased with how it's all shaping up," Eckler said. "Musically the kids are doing real well. I think it's going to be a wonderful evening."

"I can't wait," Thurman said. "I'm excited about the whole thing."

He's especially pleased at the notion of DVDs of the event going to members of the military, including the personal messages.

"I think that's going to be a special thing for people to say thanks and I think the troops are going to enjoy that," Thurman said.