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Navy singers harmonize to the Red, White and Blue

June 26, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - As a deluge of rain turned Hagerstown Community College parking lots into temporary rivers and ponds, a group of "singing sailors" paid tribute to the armed services during a performance Sunday at Kepler Theater.

Audience members bounced their feet as the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters harmonized to Duke Ellington and doo-wop tunes. A jazz band accompanied the 17-member choir's bell-clear voices on some songs.

Ronald Wayne Taylor, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and past president of the Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association, said he thought bad weather kept many music enthusiasts home. The seventh installment of the alumni association's Red, White and Blue Summer Concert Series, the free performance was the first forced out of the amphitheater outside, he said.

"We had a small crowd because of the weather, but we had an enthusiastic crowd," Taylor said. The alumni association has brought military musical groups to town the past two years, he said.

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After the concert, audience members raved about the music. Less than 100 people turned out for the show.

Angela Davids of Hagerstown said she wanted to expose her 4-year-old son to live patriotic music.

Benjamin, who listens to patriotic music at home, buried his head in the cushion of a chair outside Kepler Theater when asked what he thought of the concert. Just above a whisper, he mumbled some of the doo-wop vocalizations he had heard the Navy singers articulate.

"He liked the doo-wop ... Da, na, na, da, na ... He liked the guy who could sing the upper tenor, I'd guess you'd call it," said Davids, who attended the concert with her aunt and her aunt's friend.

For friends Dr. Laurence Johns of Leitersburg and Ed Dozier of Hagerstown, the concert had special significance. Both are veterans, they said.

Johns, a dentist, said he and his wife, Patsy, came to the concert for two reasons:

"Music and service to our country," said Johns, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean War.

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