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9th annual Americana Concert to honor veterans



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OMS Choir Director Jan Flynn and her 230 talented students will sing their hearts out Nov. 10 at their annual Veterans Day concert. (click for larger version)
November 02, 2011 - All those brave men and women who have ever donned a U.S. military uniform, served in a foreign land or fought in a war will be honored Thursday, Nov. 10 as Oxford Middle School choir students put on their annual Americana Concert.

"This is our ninth annual Veterans Day concert," said OMS Choir Director Jan Flynn. "It's my favorite concert of the year. I just love this one."

The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the spacious Oxford High School Fine Arts Center (745 N. Oxford Rd.). It will feature the vocal talents of the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade choirs. "We'll have 230 students singing," Flynn said.

From the "Star Spangled Banner" to Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American," the concert will consist of both classic and modern patriotic songs.

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Dr. Joseph Mastromatteo will be this year's guest speaker. The Lake Orion dentist is a U.S. Army veteran who chairs the board of directors for the Orion Veterans Memorial, located at M-24 and Odanah St.

"He will be speaking on (the topic of) courage," Flynn said.

Members of the Eastern Michigan Young Marines will serve as the event's color guard.

Admission to the concert is free, but Flynn is encouraging attendees to bring a new and unwrapped toy as a donation for the Toys for Tots program, which provides Christmas gifts for underpriviledged children.

"All of the toys will stay local. They'll go to Oxford area kids," Flynn said.

Flynn began organizing this concert years ago as a way "to give back to the community" and "honor the sacrifices and the service of our vets." She also wanted to teach her students a valuable lesson.

"I think it's important for children to know that significant sacrifices were made so they can have what they have today," Flynn said. "In order for them to live in peace and safety, there were people who went before them that paved the way."

Prior to the concert, Flynn and her students engage in some "role-playing" in which they practice how to respectfully interact with veterans and active military personnel.

"We talk about what to say to them and how to greet them," she said. "It's a chance for them to develop some social skills and honor the vets in a way they may not have done before."

Flynn is encouraging members of the public to take a few hours out of their busy schedules to attend this concert and pay tribute to the area's local heroes. "I'm hoping people will spend an evening with our vets and be reminded of how important freedom really is and that freedom isn't free," she said.

Veterans and active military personnel are encouraged to attend the concert wearing their uniforms so they can be properly recognized for their service.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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