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Veterans Day Concert: Group plans to perform patriotic show

Sherwin and Pam Linton and their combo will perform a patriotic concert in honor of all veterans of the armed services at 7 p.m. tonight at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. Submitted Photo

Sherwin and Pam Linton and the Cotton Kings will perform a Veterans Day concert in honor of all veterans at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium.

"I've always had a great love and appreciation and respect for America and the military, so we've included patriot music in our shows just about as long as I've been performing," said Sherwin Linton in a telephone interview Tuesday from his home in Coon Rapids, Minn.

He and his wife, Pam, and their band will present a variety of music from Civil War times through the present. Many of the selections represent music popular during the world wars, Korea, Vietnam and current times.

Sherwin, a native of South Dakota, said he has been performing for 53 years and has 25 albums and CDs on the market featuring more than 700 songs. He said he, his wife and ensemble like choosing patriotic themes for performances on national holidays.

Tonight's concert will open with the National Anthem followed by a recitation of "The Flag Goes By," a poem by Henry Holcomb Bennett Sherwin said he learned as a child.

History goes along with the music in the Lintons' show.

The program will feature Pam Linton on mandolin and songs such as "My Dixie Darlin'" popular in 1912, "Remember the Alamo" and Jimmy Driftwood's "The Battle of New Orleans.

Sherwin said Driftwood wrote the song as a history lesson for his students. Johnny Horton made the song popular in 1959, but Driftwood's original version contains more verses recounting the battle that was fought on Jan. 8, 1815, after the War of 1812 had concluded on Dec. 24, 1814. Andrew Jackson, who led the American troops hadn't received word that the Treaty of Ghent, Belgium, had ended the war.

The Civil War era will be represented by "Wildwood Flower," and World War I by a song Sherwin learned from his mother, "She Wears a Yellow Ribbon." Emotional songs from the World War II era will include "Rainbow at Midnight," about a soldier coming home, and "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere," about a disabled boy who wishes he could join the service. Vietnam veterans will be honored by the song, "Bringing Johnny Home," about the 1,000th American soldier killed in that conflict.

Sherwin said the program goes upbeat with Alex Nyhus, who is a five-string banjo instrumentalist, picking up the fiddle for "The Orange Blossom Special" and Sherwin describing listening to a windup Victrola he listened to as a child and imitating a skipping record. Pam will sing "I've Been Everywhere" and Sherwin will sing "Ghost Riders in the Sky," as well as "The Marine Hymn" to the "Ghost Riders" tune, an improvisation he made when he was in high school.

Sherwin will also sing an original song, "Thank You For Serving," which he said he wrote after meeting, as they waited in line for a bank teller, a World War II soldier wearing a 3rd Armored Tank Division hat.

"I went home and wrote a song," he said.

Other features will include Pam's version of the Loretta Lynn favorite, "God Bless America Again," "Via con Dios," from the Korean War era, "Fraulein," for the veterans who served in Germany, and a recitation of Johnny Cash's "The Ragged Old Flag" and Woodie Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

"It's a show everyone would enjoy and appreciate, but it's dedicated to the veterans," Sherwin said.

He said that although he is not a veteran himself, he can use his music to show appreciation to those who serve and express patriotism.

In addition to Nyhus, who plays many instruments, the band features Rick Johnson on drums, Eric Paulson on bass and John Ely on steel guitar.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Lueken's South and Headwaters School of Music and the Arts. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Volunteers for the Handicapped Association and the Bemidji High School Theater Fund. For more information, contact Brian Carlson at 218-256-1522 or e-mail