National Memorial Day Concert

It’s an anthem of life for Memorial Day star

The song “American Anthem” ripples through decades of Denyce Graves’ memories.
She met it 23 years ago, when her friend, composer Gene Scheer, sent it by cassette. Her reaction, she recalls, was instant: “It’s beautiful …. It’s a reflective piece that makes you think about your life.”
So she sang it often – from the a Hillary Clinton event to George W. Bush’s second inauguration. (“I’m a bi-partisan, equal-opportunity singer.”) After the latter, Sen. Joe Biden “came up to me and said, ‘What was that song!?’” Sixteen years later, he would quote it in in own inaugural speech.
Now comes another lofty occasion. From a rooftop overlooking the Capitol, Graves (shown here) sings “American Anthem” for the “National Memorial Day Concert,” at 8 p.m. May 30 on PBS, rerunning at 9:30. Read more…

Memorial concert scrambles in the year of COVID

As the virus shut down large chunks of life, Michael Colbert was sure of two things.
Yes, there would still be Memorial Day, even without some of the parades and picnics and such.
And the night before that, there would be the annual “National Memorial Day Concert” (shown here from a previous year); that’s at 8 and 9:30 p.m. May 24 on most PBS stations. “We need to have our rituals,” Colbert said. Read more…

Memorial Day eve: A small-town guy meets the masses

Like many small-town kids, Justin Moore’s friends talked about moving to somewhere bigger.
That could be … well, almost anywhere. Back then, Poyen, Ark., had 272 people; it later soared to 290.
“I was the one, out of all my buddies, who didn’t want to leave,” Moore recalled. “I’m the one who did it – and the only one who didn’t want to.”
Not to worry: Moore, 35, is now back in Poyen, with his wife and four kids, running the ranch he worked as a kid. But he often travels to much bigger places to do country music – including PBS’ Memorial Day eve concert, Sunday in Washington, D.C. Read more…