The campaign event this past Sunday night at the
North Shore Music Theatre was called "Stand Up for America, a
Celebration of Freedom." So I stood up for America and celebrated
Bill Hudak, whom I've been supporting in his run for Congress
for the past year.
It was to be a gala affair, so Bill wore a tuxedo
with a star-spangled cummerbund and tie. I dressed patriotically as
well, in navy slacks, a light blue denim jacket, a red shirt, and
The gala part was my canvas bag with the brightly
colored flowers, butterflies and cats, glued on by my twin
grandchildren when they were 7. They were the reason I was there,
one reason I haven't retired from political activism — they and the
young people whose performances at the event brought tears to my
First there were the four young men from the Lynn
High School Marine ROTC Honor Guard, marching up on stage to honor
the flag while the audience recited the Pledge of Allegiance and
sang the National Anthem.
Then, the Bishop Fenwick High School Concert
Choir, eight girls and three boys, all elegant in black, singing
"Proud to be an American," "Glory, glory, Hallelujah" and "This Land
is My Land," a capella, in beautiful harmony.
Next, the program stated there would be
performances by two members of something called Lucky Ten, described
as a vocal and dance children's group that has received many
accolades since its inception in 2007.
The panelists, L to R:
Ben Franklin, John Adams, Barbara, Bill Hudak, Todd
Feinberg, and Jeff Katz.
(Click on photo
Readers, if you weren't there, I am sorry you
missed this. If you ever have a chance to attend a program with
Lucky Ten, please don't miss it again.
There were two of them for this show, a young
lady and a young man: Danielle Starz and Afanasy Prokhorov. I have
collected show tunes since my own childhood so have heard some of
the loveliest young voices of stage and screen; but I've never heard
any more beautiful than these. Danielle's, wide and rich, reminded
me of the girls who sing the role of Eponine in "Les Miserables."
Next up was Afanasy, slim and blue-eyed, with
long, fair, tied-back hair, a sweet smile, and a voice to shatter
your memories of the first time you heard Josh Groban, whose songs
he featured. But it was their duet of "My Prayer" that made one want
to cry, as they harmonized, "Let this be our prayer, when we lose
our way, lead us to the place ... where we'll be safe."
That song was nicely done by Groban and Charlotte
Church in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Olympics, but you've never
heard it sung like it was in Beverly on Sunday night.
The featured performer of the evening was pianist
Nicolai Lomov, now a grown-up American citizen, but who made his
concert debut at the age of 15 in his native Soviet Union. After
playing four classical selections, including the entire "Rhapsody in
Blue," Mr. Lomov treated us to six pieces celebrating his chosen
Hudak, wisely not attempting to compete with the
teenagers who came before him, recited instead of singing "America
the Beautiful," as the pianist played softly in the background.
Bill had promised me that the evening would be
"fun," so as I wiped away the patriotic tears as I was invited to
join the candidate and the two masters of ceremony, Todd Feinburg of
WRKO and Jeff Katz of WXKS, on stage for the last section of the
show titled, "Let's Talk." The talk-show hosts and I had expected a
four-way discussion and some questions from the audience, but Bill
surprised us with two more guests: Founding Fathers John Adams and
Ben Franklin, returned from the 18th century in their own gala
It was going well until Mr. Adams said something
about the young country having to get along without a Navy until he
formed one during his presidency. Being from Marblehead, I was
"Have you not heard of John Glover?" I asked.
"How do you think George Washington got across the Delaware?"
My co-hosts laughed to see me arguing with the
former president. But sitting next to him, I noted with dismay the
blank look in his eyes and thought to myself, "He may not know what
I'm talking about."
My next thought was, "Barbara, you idiot, this is
not REALLY John Adams!"
I do tend to get caught up in these things.
It really was Ben Franklin, though; he made a
point to warn us, again, about letting the country go too deeply
into debt. And they both appreciated the question from the audience
about the ballot question to cut the sales tax, as I gave them a
quick history of Massachusetts tax policy since they'd left.
Then the evening was over and the audience seemed
renewed in its determination to help America find its way, to always
be an example of a place where children can be safe, and free. This
is Bill Hudak's prayer, and mine.