A love for her country and God inspired Karen Knight to write and produce a musical tribute called "Voices For America."
Knight of Heartsongs Ministries Inc. of Lancaster will present the production along with a host of local actors and singers at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Grace Baptist Church, 2308 Adams Ave., Tyrone. Being performed the day before Veterans Day, the musical is a salute to America's military from the days of the Revolution to the Gulf War interspersed with inspirational messages.
"It honors veterans and raises an awareness that America was established as one nation under God," she said. It's built on history and heritage."
Knight, who is known for her work with Sight and Sound's Millennium Theater in Lancaster, said she was inspired to write the production about three years ago because of her own association with the military.
"I am an Air Force brat," she said. "I went to six different schools in the sixth grade - three in Germany and three in the United States."
Her experiences growing up gave her a great awareness of the unique challenges that veterans and military families face, she said.
"Every military child has to learn to deal with being away from family," she said, including sometimes living in remote locations where they can't be with family on holidays, including Christmas.
Because of the lifestyle she encountered growing up, Knight said the musical contains aspects of family life expressed through spouses and children of military personnel.
Not only is the musical a tribute to those who have made and continue to make America strong, but Knight sees it as a way to teach the younger generation about its heritage and that America was established as one nation under God.
Narrators for the musical are state Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, and an actor portraying Patrick Henry. Knight said the two narrators represent the voice of America today and the voice of one of the founding fathers. State Sen. John H. EichelbergerJr., R-Blair, will play "Taps" on a trumpet before a moment of silence and speak at the end, Knight said.
Knight said the production features America's major conflicts: the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam and the Gulf wars. In addition to views from the battlefield, such as a media image of the D-Day landing in Normandy, France, the musical gives snippets from family life back home.
For instance, a mother of a son fighting in the Revolution talks about how cold it is in Valley Forge and how her son left his coat behind, she said.
"It is very real, very touching," Knight said.
Backing up the scenes will be a choir conducted by Eileen Mitchell, director of music at the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd in Tyrone. Choir members represent eight churches in Tyrone.
The songs tie into the wars or honor veterans and represent the different branches of the military.
For instance, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" will represent the Civil War era, and the story of how Julia Ward Howe came to write those words will be told.
Local actors will have walk-on parts in the segments with Drew Baker of Tyrone, who also is formerly with Sight and Sound, as stage manager.
Knight said work on the production began back in June with choir members and actors rehearsing their parts. She said her team supplies the costumes, and a couple of run- throughs are done the weekend of the production.
"I believe the Lord does the rest," she said.