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Vets honored at Austin High fall concert

Published 7:01pm Saturday, November 9, 2013
Jessica Pedersen performs an alto flute solo during the AHS Wind Ensemble’s performance of a  Korean War tribute entitled, “Inchon.” Photo courtesy of Marcia Pedersen
Jessica Pedersen performs an alto flute solo during the AHS Wind Ensemble’s performance of a Korean War tribute entitled, “Inchon.” Photo courtesy of Marcia Pedersen

Austin High School music students chose to honor veterans a different way this year.
The AHS Concert Band performed “Inchon,” memorializing the Korean War and the September of 1950 U.S. invasion at Inchon in particular, as the signature piece of the AHS Fall Concert this year.

Band Director Brad Mariska knew he wanted to get students involved in Veteran’s Day this year after seeing what Ellis Middle School and other Austin schools do for veterans. Though AHS students annually serve breakfast to veterans like all other Austin schools, the high school doesn’t do much else to commemorate the holiday.

“It’s something that, because there’s no program or assembly on Veteran’s Day, it’s easy to get overlooked,” Mariska said.

Mariska made the decision earlier this year to honor the 60th anniversary of the Korean armistice and to celebrate Veteran’s Day by choosing something that was written specifically for Korean War veterans.

“It’s kind of a forgotten war, it gets overshadowed, stuck in between WWII and Vietnam,” he said.

All veterans were invited to attend, and Mariska made sure to let veterans know how Wind Ensemble students would be stationed throughout Knowlton Auditorium, playing instruments and making sounds resembling the same noises they would here during their time in the military, in order to bring back memories of service without recalling traumatic experiences.

Rollie Hanson, commander of the Austin American Legion, was impressed with performance, which included sounds that simulated elements of the military, such as the whirring of helicopter blades.

“I was in a helicopter in Vietnam, and it just made the hair stand right up on my arm,” Hanson said about the performance.

“I just wish I would have taken a tape recorder there,” Hanson said. “It’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”

Mariska was pleased with the students’ performance and with the reaction from the community.

“The feedback that I’ve gotten is just incredible,” he said.


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