Musician extraordinaire Glenn Henriksen rounded up a few of his very talented friends and performed a salute to U.S. military veterans resulting in a fabulous evening of music and salutations.
Henriksen, known for his ability to play everything from classical to rock, did not let the crowd down Thursday night at the Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji.
The keyboard virtuoso played a pleasing combination of classical, military format and rock ’n’ roll beats in a wide variety of song selections. Henriksen was able to play the grand piano and the keyboard at the same time on certain songs and spent the entire performance attired in a military dress uniform with an American flag waving on the screen behind the musicians.
His classical version of “America” was especially stirring.
Joining him on stage were Bill Hansen, Sheryl Bahr, Millie Kittleson and Mark Kurseth.
Hansen is from Ringsted. He has a beautiful voice and magnificent stage presence. His rendition of “Born Free” was awesome. He also sang all four versus of taps for us. Since I only knew the words to the first verse, it was enlightening to hear the entire song.
Drummer Mark Kuseth is a fine percussionist. He teaches special education by day and drums for Henriksen’s Galaxy band at night. His military cadence was right on.
We enjoyed hearing a wide variety of songs, many with a patriotic component — everything from Louie Armstrong to Tony Orlando and Dawn.
Hansen read Psalm 91 to us from the Bible, before giving us his fantastic rendition of “On Eagles Wings.” It was beautiful!
There are no words to adequately describe Mille Kittleson. She is 94 years old and still singing with a strong voice. She held one note at the end of “Only You” longer than any of us much younger people could have managed. Resplendent in bright red with dazzling sequins, Millie sang from her heart “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On” in honor of her husband, who was a prisoner of war in World War II.
Sheryl Bahr made the trip from Kansas City to perform. She sang several selections for us and was delightful to hear. Her performance of “My Guy” was done to honor her Vietnam War veteran husband who was in the audience.
We in the audience enjoyed singing along with some of the songs throughout the evening. Five men represented the five branches of the military on stage as each theme song was played. One of them was 97-year-old Claude Hone of Sioux Falls, a bomber pilot in World War II.
The wonderful evening came to a close with all of us joining in for “God Bless America.” It was sung with emotion and heart by everyone.
Thank you to Glenn, Bill, Sheryl, Millie and Mark for a very special veterans’ salute. It was a spectacular evening!