Fitch choir entertains Marines
Thirty-nine members of the Austintown Fitch High School Concert Choir on Tuesday had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform patriotic music for 350 to 400 personnel who care for and fly President Joe Biden’s helicopter.
These servicemen and women are attached to HMX-1, the Presidential Helicopter Squadron at Marine Base Quantico, Va., where the choir members under the direction of Bill Klein also had lunch and went on a tour.
With them was Ken Jakubec of Austintown, an Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame inductee and a 1965-68 alumni of the HMX-1 squadron.
This is the 49th year the choir has entertained veterans over its spring break, and it took some arranging this week to get them onto the high-security base. Klein thanked U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, and Jakubec for their help in getting the group to the base.
Jakubec called the base visit and performance “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the choir members.
One of the helicopters provided a backdrop to a group photo of the choir. It’s a Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King, and these are more often seen in action on the South Lawn of the White House.
Because the base personnel have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Jakubec said the choir members were allowed to remove their masks to sing. In fact, he was told they were the first non-military people allowed on the base for more than a year and that choice was made because of the choir’s history of entertaining veterans.
The concert choir will also attend a master class from a professor at Regent University and perform for veterans at various locations while in Virginia.