Fort McCoy News Nov. 27, 2015

Children salute veterans with Fort McCoy concert

Public Affairs Staff

Members of the Milwaukee Children's Choir put on a lively show Nov. 13 at Fort McCoy in honor of Veterans Day.

The Milwaukee Children's Choir provides children ages 4-18 with exceptional choral music education and performance experiences that foster creativity, personal expression, and social growth, according to its mission statement.

Members of the Milwaukee Children's Choir hold a concert Nov. 13 in building 905 at Fort McCoy. Photo by Jobi Spolum

The show was part of a multicity tour for Eterna, the choir's group for sixth-to-10th-grade students. Eterna also visited locations in Milwaukee; Rockford, Ill.; and Arlington Heights, Ill.

Military service and patriotism were the primary themes of the concert. It featured a variety of musical styles, including popular patriotic tunes, folk songs, and foreign-language selections.

The concert, held in building 905, started with "The Star-Spangled Banner" and several spiritual songs.

Images of veterans, military scenes, and memorials played behind the choir as they sang "Wherever You Are" for veterans and current service members and "In My Dreams" in remembrance of the fallen.

Both the audience and the choir enjoyed the South African medley. Choir members marched in beat with a song called "Siyahamba," which means "we are marching" in Zulu. One of the favorites of the night was "Sivela Kwazulu." The choir members acted out the story while singing, miming cutting down sugar cane, cowering in fear from a plush snake they'd stirred up, and eventually defeating the snake before getting back to work.

The upbeat mood continued after intermission with several spiritual and gospel songs. During one of the gospel songs, a singer motioned for the audience to join the choir in clapping along to the beat.

The tribute to the armed forces also was popular. Current and former members of each service were asked to stand during their services' anthems. The audience applauded as representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps stood as each song began.

Edward Tomko, an Air Force veteran and local resident, said he came to the concert because he loves music, especially choirs.

"I think they're fantastic," Tomko said of the Eterna singers. "They're amazing."

Uzo Eweama said she came to the concert with her Family because her daughter really enjoys singing.

"Everything singing is really fun for us," Eweama said. She and her Family also said the boys and girls in the choir were amazing.

For more information about the Milwaukee Children's Choir and Eterna, visit