Good songs, good times at Mostly Americana

April 13, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Yearning for a little apple pie, big band and crooning quartets?

The Fourth of July may be far off but you can have it all by attending Issaquah High School’s fifth annual Mostly Americana chorale concert to honors veterans at 7 p.m. April 17 at the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus.

With more than 350 performers from local schools and Breath of Aire, a regional Northwest community choir, singing patriotic songs, swing, show tunes, gospel, barbershop, spiritual and rock songs, the event promises to be an evening of fun.

In addition to allowing students to practice with professionals, proceeds from the event go to help the schools pay for travel expenses for the many shows their chorale groups are invited to across the country.

But it isn’t just the songs and fundraising that stirs up emotions; it’s whom the songs are for, said Barbara Irish, the school’s chorale director.

The Hi Tones perform for the audience in 2009 during the Mostly Americana concert. Contributed

“My favorite part is when veterans stand and we sing to them ‘I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.’ My father’s Air Force plane went down over the Sea of Japan when I was a baby, so I never knew him, yet I feel very close to him, especially at Mostly Americana,” Irish said. “My love for him and our country, my love for these students and my passion for music have come together to form the vision for Mostly Americana. To be there with my students, my friends, my fellow citizens, overwhelms me, and I am very proud to be an American.”

All veterans get into the show for free, because it is in honor of them and the debt our country owes them for their service, Irish said.

“I think that it is very special, simply because it lets our community come together for one big night to show our appreciation for the veterans of the war,” said Marcus Mitchell, a senior who is in both the chorus and in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps at school. “I think our concert is a special way to do that and not something people often do. We get to say thank you as a collective group, as opposed to an individual or a veteran’s family member. Instead, we say thank you as a group, a school and city.”

The event is also a chance for children to learn about the history of American song, its meaning and about the patriotism that went into much of it, Irish said.

But if that wasn’t enough for you to pencil it into your calendar, how about the lure of Fourth of July treats, which audience members can enjoy during the show’s intermission? A dessert buffet will include a variety of beverages and classic American pastries, like apple and berry pies and a variety of lemon and pecan bars.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

If you go

Mostly Americana

  • 7 p.m. April 17
  • Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus
  • 24635 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road
  • $15 in advance at Front Street Market, 80 Front St. S., or $20 at the door. Veterans get in free.
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