Northwest News

May 16 concert to salute members of the military


The fourth annual musical thank-you for the men and women of the armed services is scheduled for Thursday, May 16, in the Northland High School auditorium.

"Duty, Honor, Country" returns to the venue where it originated in May 2010 through a collaboration between the Military Veterans Educational Foundation of Columbus and the music programs at the high school.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

"You could call it a musical salute to the armed services, mainly to the people of the armed services," said C. Rick Eckler, director of instrumental music at Northland High School.

The school's symphonic band and choirs will perform. The singers and musicians will present some songs separately, but come together for three numbers, Eckler said. Those are The Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the show, Who Are the Brave? and, concluding the performance, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

"That usually gets people on their feet," Eckler said.

Personnel with the Columbus City Schools' media department will film the concert for later broadcast on local public access television as well as to make DVDs to once again be distributed to members of the military who are on active duty abroad.

"It lets them know that somebody at home is thinking about them and talking about them in a favorable light and appreciates their service," Eckler said.

For the veteran music educator, a highlight of the concert will be his students performing The Light Eternal, composed by James Swearingen, chairman of music education at Capital University.

It tells the story of four chaplains -- a priest, two ministers and a rabbi -- who were on board a ship that was torpedoed and sank off the coast of Greenland.

"Through the pandemonium, according to those present, four Army chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness," according to the website

"Those chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed.

"Quickly and quietly, the four chaplains spread out among the soldiers. There they tried to calm the frightened, tend the wounded and guide the disoriented toward safety.

"When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men.

" 'It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven,' said John Ladd, another survivor who saw the chaplains' selfless act."

"I find that to be pretty powerful," Eckler said.

"It's a very, very teachable, moment from my perspective, to teach teenagers that there are things more important than themselves."