ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Music will honor those who have served our country this Veterans Day.
“A Salute to Our Veterans” will be held at the 75 Stutson Street Event Center in Rochester on Veterans Day, November 11 at 7:00 p.m. The doors will open at 6:15 and the performance is free for all to attend.
The event’s organizer Gary Samulski, the Director of the Greece Jazz Band, and performer Jason Ostrowski discussed the program Wednesday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“There are a lot of great performers here,” Samulski said. “We have the All In Brass Band. We will have a performance of the National Anthem, Jason Ostrowski and Emily Reed will be performing. Of course, the Greece Jazz Band is the host and we will be having a couple of guest speakers and veterans.”
Ostrowski has known Samulski since his days as a student at Greece Athena High School. “I’ve known ‘Mr. S’ for 32 years, back when I played Bari Sax in the Greece Athena Jazz Band and the Symphonic Band, so we go way back,” he said. “I went away. I’m an actor. I did some Broadway and television and some entertaining on cruise ships and Mr. S called me up one day – I think back in 2018 – and said, hey, would you like to play with the Greece Jazz Band?”
Reuniting with his former teacher is just one of the personal connections for Ostrowski. “My Dad served in the Air Force in Vietnam. I still have his jacket that says ‘Ostrowski.’ It survived all of these years and so has he, thankfully. He’s still around. The songs I’m doing happen to be, by happenstance, Vietnam-based. I’m doing a song by Billy Joel called ‘Good Night Saigon.’ My girlfriend Emily Reed and I are doing a song together called ‘Travelin’ Soldier’ by The Chicks, and I’m also doing Elton John’s ‘Daniel.’ When the song was written Elton cut a whole verse that Bernie Taupin had written which explains the song. The song was actually about a Vietnam vet who comes home after serving to all of these accolades when all he wants to do is just return to his life. He doesn’t want the spotlight from serving his country. So I thought that would be a cool one to do.”
Samulski also has a personal interest in honoring veterans on Veterans Day. “My Dad was a World War II vet,” he explained. “My Dad passed away a few years ago and it was because of his record player – and I’m dating myself – that we will be doing some traditional Glenn Miller arrangements of ‘American Patrol’ and ‘A String of Pearls’ that Glenn Miller did with the Air Force Band as well. At the concert I always have my Dad – we have his folded flag from his funeral and it will be on stage with me, right next to me, because since 2008 we’ve done these concerts, except for the pandemic and we’re just so glad to be back doing it, to honor Jason’s Dad, my Dad, and all of those folks out there who are currently serving, their families – everyone.”