Carthage singers pay tribute to veterans
Singers add appearances with warm reception
Veterans from two different eras, Ed Stevens and Thomas Fredericksen edged in behind the Crimson Quintet to lend their voices as the Carthage singers paid tribute to each branch of the U.S. military.
When the quintet got around to “Anchors Aweigh,” the Navy fight song, the two servicemen chimed in louder. Mr. Stevens served in the Armed Guard, a branch of the Navy that defended Allied merchant ships during World War II, while Mr. Fredericksen carried on a family legacy by serving in the Navy and Naval Reserve during the Vietnam War.
“I know all four verses of it,” Mr. Fredericksen, a regular at the café, said proudly.
The men were among about 30 veterans who took in the Nov. 15 performance by the Crimson Quintet at the Heroes Café, a space inside the Festival Foods store in Kenosha. Many of those veterans went out of their way to thank the singers for coming, yet the members of the quintet felt an even deeper sense of gratitude toward their audience.
“It’s probably the only meaningful way we can give back to them,” said Mike Anderle ’15, a history and music major from Racine, Wis.
The Crimson Quintet has anchored itself in that role with a steady presence at veterans’ events in southeastern Wisconsin. Other members of the ensemble include John Kryl, Jack Lambert, Fletcher Paulsen, and Nick Huff — all prospective 2015 Carthage graduates.
Each of the singers has a family connection to the military, but the group didn’t initially plan to make this its niche. It began with an invitation to perform the national anthem, and soon Professor Peter Dennee began to receive requests. The group performed at an Honor Flight sendoff in April at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, as well as a Veterans Day celebration (in blistering winds) in downtown Kenosha.
The November appearance was the second for the quintet at the Heroes Café, where veterans gather weekly to chat. Those in the room held hats over their hearts or gave salutes during “The Star Spangled Banner,” and occasionally joined in the various fight songs before the students concluded with “America the Beautiful.”
Students said the response from veterans has been extremely positive.
“It’s really humbling,” said Fletcher Paulsen ’15, a music major (vocal music education emphasis) from DeWitt, Iowa. “If you hear that song on the street, you might not think much of it, but to them it means so much.”
The calendar continues to fill. Among its upcoming events, the ensemble is scheduled to perform at Kenosha’s Navy Park on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Dec. 7.
Like the five larger choral ensembles that Carthage offers, the relatively new Crimson Quintet performs at a broad range of cultural and civic events. But when the audience is filled with heroes, the students said they feel like they’re doing more than entertaining. They’re paying a due.