"From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea..."

Chatfield High School musicians, along with band instructor Katy Jablonski and choir instructor Barbara Ahl, will take the stage and honor those who have fought in the air, on land and sea during the 11th annual Veterans' Day concert.

The concert is slated for this coming Monday, Nov. 11, in the Chatfield High School gymnasium at 7 p.m. The public is certainly welcome to attend. Admission is free, but a goodwill donation will be taken at the door.

"We love our area veterans! You do not have to be related to a band or choir student to attend and be recognized at our event," said Jablonski. "Near the end of the concert, the band plays a medley of service songs and veterans in attendance are encouraged, if able, to stand and be recognized as their branch's song is played. It's always my favorite moment of the concert. (It's) our way of giving back."

The concert will include a wide variety of patriotic tunes, some familiar, some depicting famous moments in history. The band director observed, "This is the third year the choir has joined us, and we love having them involved. Everything about this concert is special. I stress to my students that this is not your typical school concert. We encourage the community at large to attend to observe this as a city Veterans' Day event. With spoken script between the music, we hope to entertain the audience not only musically, but historically as well."

Rehearsals for the Veterans' Day concert began just a month ago, but students are ready to show the community their best. "Since our homecoming field show was so late this year, we had to rehearse marching band and concert band simultaneously," Jablonski added. "The students have been focused solely on this concert since October 14, but are quick studies, and the music is sounding wonderful!"

Jablonski enjoys directing the band as they perform patriotic pieces because she hopes it conveys her passion for music and dedication to her country.

"These concerts are gratifying to me as I can combine my appreciation and love for music with that of my country and those who have served," she said. "The best part is passing knowledge of the past to my students, hoping that the same passion I have for music, history and country is passed to them in some form, at some point in their life."

She notes that some students may see the importance of what she teaches as she teaches it, but others may not realize the magnitude of the history until they are much older.

"In either case, we strive to be as proactive as possible in keeping the patriotic spirit of freedom and the pursuit of happiness alive in the hearts of our youth," Jablonski said. "Students, you are the future. Stay informed and never take your freedom for granted!"

She reiterates that message each year as the students rehearse their music for the concert by reminding them why she started this concert tradition at the school.

"This is one concert during the year that isn't about 'us.' Veterans make huge sacrifices of their energy, time away from friends and family, and sometimes, their lives," she said. "Throughout our preparation time I remind them, 'This is one sacrifice you can make - taking time to learn and prepare this music that is so enjoyable to those in attendance. Music is therapeutic. Music is spiritual. Music means something to most who listen. This is your opportunity to send a beautiful message through your art. I'm always so grateful to see my students focused, sitting up extra tall, knowing the importance of what they are sharing that night."

Jablonski continued to explain that her students use that same focus and discipline through to the other concerts in the school year.

"Just like building skills in a math class, success in the preparation and performance of a particular concert makes the ensemble grow, taking it to the next level," she said. "The end of the year is always so enjoyable, because the hard work of past concerts builds and makes the final events enjoyable and stress-free."

She invited the men and women of the community to be honored for their service to the country during the concert. "It is a community event, more than just a school concert. Especially if you are a veteran, we'd love to see you there," she concluded.