Choir performers stand on the risers, holding black binders of music during the assembly. The songs they sang included In Flanders Fields, Star Spangled Banner and the Armed Forces Medley.
Choir performers stand on the risers, holding black binders of music during the assembly. The songs they sang included “In Flanders Fields,” “Star Spangled Banner” and the “Armed Forces Medley.”
Tristyn Bruning

Choir, band and orchestra honor veterans with their voices, instruments

On Nov. 10, Windsor students gathered in the gym during an assembly to honor the veterans who served in the military. The music department played a big role in this celebration, singing the songs of the soldiers that stood before them.

One of the pieces the choir sang was a deep and meaningful one about death and honor: “In Flanders Fields.” Some may recognize the song as it is also a famous poem from World War I.

“I chose a song called ‘In Flanders Fields’ that has a really meaningful message about the juxtaposition of life and death and despite horrible, traumatic, tragic things happening, beautiful life is still going on all around you,” Director of Choirs Amy Murphy (staff) said.

“In Flanders Fields” was written by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a World War I soldier and surgeon. He wrote the poem after visiting the bloodied battlegrounds and seeing that there were poppies sprouting all over the fields where his fellow soldiers had fallen.

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“We talked a lot about it in choir and that part of the preparation is making sure that the students understand the history of the song, where the song comes from and then can connect to it emotionally,” Murphy said.

After “In Flanders Fields,” the choir sang the Armed Forces Medley, which recognized the soldiers who fought in specific branches. When the veterans heard their branch’s song, each stood and the crowd applauded.

“I think the hardest part for me was performing the Branch Songs Medley,” Hunter Crow (12) said. Crow not only sang the tenor vocal part, but he also played the trumpet with the band and orchestra. “I have played that song for over three years now so practicing it was easy, but the performance is always scary as it is all about others and not yourself. So messing up can be scary.”

Cole Cooper (12) and Hunter Crow (12) play the trumpet during the assembly. Most of the songs performed were combined with instruments and voices, but each department also had a song for themselves. (Samantha Wilcox)

Both the director and the students were proud of what they accomplished and what they did for the veterans. “We sang beautifully and the band and orchestra sounded so amazing. It was worth it to see how moved everyone was,” Alex Rood (11) said.

Rood sang soprano one and was up on the risers performing with the choir. “My thoughts while performing were, ‘Wow. Look at the smiles on the veterans’ faces,'” Rood said.

Veterans of all branches attended the school from all around Windsor and surrounding communities. They had special seats in the middle of the gym so they could perfectly see the assembly performers and speakers.

U.S. Air Force veteran Jim Porth stands to watch the performers sing the Armed Forces Medley. Porth served in the Air Force from 1966 to 1970 and attends the Veterans Day assembly every year. (Kjersten Johnson)

“The overarching thought was, ‘I am so proud of these wonderful humans right now and the gift that they are giving to these veterans and that they are giving to their community with how artistically they sing, with how much meaning they put into what they do, with how professionally they carry themselves, and I feel like they really truly honored the veterans in their community through the music that they executed so beautifully,” Murphy said.

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