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In honor of the men and women in the military and, more importantly, the police and firefighters in New York, the River City Brass Band and Carnegie Mellon University Choirs held a charity concert to raise money for relief efforts. The title of the performance was Celebrate America.

Since Septermber 11, 2001, there has been a lot of charity functions, concerts, and events. This one was different. For example, a local Pittsburgh band, The Clarks, performed to raise money for relief efforts. They spoke about the tragedy, but their music didn't. They played music their normal music. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it as The Clarks are a very good band. However, the River City Brass Band played all kinds of patriotic music, such as America the Beautiful, Stars and Stripes Forever, God Bless America, and God Bless the USA.

Two songs stick out in my mind. One was a song by Aaron Copland called "A Lincoln Portrait." This was a very dramatic peice that gave me goosebumps. To add to the effect, a county councilman with a booming voice did the narration. This narration was a bunch of quotes from and a biography of Lincoln. I could feel the tears well up as the narration spoke about freedom and unity in America.

Steven Bulla is the director of the President's own Marine Band. This guy arranged a song called "Armed Forces Salute" that was a medley of all the songs from each branch of the military. Denis Colwell, the director of the River City Brass Band, asked the members of the audience to stand whenever the song from their branch of the military was played. Concert etiquitte states that you never clap or make any noise until the song is over. However, whenever a branch would stand the audience would forget about the music and would concentrate entirely on thanking the veterans for everything they had given up so that we could be listening to such great music. Again, the emotions were just too much.

I can't convey the feelings I felt last night. The feelings of gratitude towards the soldiers, the men and women in New York. The feelings of sorrow for those who are now gone. The feelings of pride for being an American.

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