No gadgets or devices are needed to travel through time, only an ear for music.
On Nov. 11, the Victory Belles, ambassadors of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, brought 1940s music to campus.
At the sound of the first melody, community members, local veterans, and Texas A&M University-Kingsville students were sent back in time. The opening song, “In the Mood,” set the stage for an entire era of music.
The Victory Belles sang musical hits such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,”, and “My Heart Belongs To Daddy” In honor of Veterans Day. The performance also featured songs such as “Service Medley” and “God Bless America.”
The singing trio was not afraid to integrate community veterans into their singing and dancing performances.
The audience cheered for their fellow veterans and laughed at the Victory Belles comedic routines.¬
The songs brought back childhood memories to Livia Diaz, who grew up in the aftermath of World War II.
“The songs remind you of the era of the day. I remember my mother used to play records such as ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.’ I love the history behind it,” she said.
For many, the American patriotic songs were especially emotional, as they reminded them of family and friends who serve or served in the military. TAMUK Music freshman Jaime Rodriguez said the event was personal as it honored Veterans Day.
“I come from a military family. Most of them have served or died in service,” he said.
Another TAMUK freshman, Music Education major Kaitlynn Bagwell, was moved to tears by the event. It reminded her of her closes friend who is going to start his military career.
“The event meant a lot because I have a friend who is just going to start to serve. He just went through basic training,” Kaitlynn explained.
This is the second year TAMUK’s Presidential Performing & Visual Arts Series invited the Victory Belles for Veterans Day. Erin McClure, director of Student Activities, said she is glad to have the group back and enjoys the spirit they bring to the event.
“The trio always sings beautifully together and they project the American Spirit. The ladies made their performance interactive and entertaining,” she said.
The trio consists of Ashley Harris, Melissa Castillo and Heather Gault. Earlier in the day, the Victory Belles performed at Bishop Elementary. Castillo said visiting the elementary was a great way to teach young children about another era. When asked about their return to Kingsville, Gault said she felt right at home in the community.
“The people have been very welcoming and so friendly. It’s almost as if we never left. You feel like a part of a family.”
As the ambassadors of the National World War II Museum, the Victory Belles expressed their appreciation for 1940s music and culture as well as the people who fought for the United States.
Harris says she enjoys seeing the emotional impact the event has on others.
“It’s an incredible honor to pay tribute for the men and women in the military. To be able to do this means we get to bring back memories,” she said.
Gault also described the importance of being an ambassador and upholding U.S. history.
“The period was dark, but the music was fun. Part of what I feel is important being an ambassador is being a millennial and promoting patriotism. We want to remind others of their country’s past.”
TAMUK students agreed that the event was a great way to promote Veterans Day.
“This was the best event. Coming from a family who serves in the military, I wish my father could have been here. He served as a Marine.
For me, Veterans Day is a reminder that freedom comes with sacrifice, but it is a great way of honoring those who serve,” said freshman Elizabeth Carstons, a Piano Performance major.