Patriotic music brings joy

WARREN – Bob and Patti Stewart of Warren proudly stood as the U.S. Army’s anthem was played by the W.D. Packard band toward the end of its hour-and-a-half performance.

Bob’s, wearing a flag on the collar of his coat, eyes moistened as each of the anthems of the U.S. military branches were played.

“It is important that we recognize those who survived what sometimes were horrors of war and those who did not get to come home,” Stewart said. “We are blessed to live in America. We are blessed by those who were willing to give their lives to protect our freedoms.”

The Stewarts were among several hundred men and women who attended the annual concert celebrating the contributions of U.S. veterans.

The W.D. Packard Concert Band concert was led by guest conductor Loras John Schissel, who has been the conductor of the Blossom Festival Band since 1998 and has worked with the Cleveland Orchestra since 2007, conducting three performances of an educational concert entitled “Spirit of America.” He has made numerous appearances with the Phoenix Orchestra.

He frequently appears with the Patriot Band of Avon Lake, Strongsville Community Band, Lakewood Hometown Band and the Packard Band of Warren.

Schissel highlighted the works of John Philip Sousa by doing his arrangement of The Star Spangle Banner, America, and Philip’s own The stars and Stripes Forever.

William R. Kerpsack, of Canfield, said the patriotic marching music “… had me ready to march around the flag.”

Kerpsack described serving in the U.S. Army during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

“I was proud to give service to my country,” he said.

Warren residents Ronald and Linda Reese described the concert as “wonderful” and the band’s music as “fantastic.”

Brothers George and Ronald Reese served in the U.S. Air Force during their years in the military, so anytime there are concerts and events that honor veterans they try to attend with their spouses.

The next W.D. Packard Music Hall event will be its children’s / youth concerts at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 8.