Event to feature OMS choir students, The Macombers, Navy vet turned priest
Military veterans, their family members and area residents are invited to attend the 17th Annual Americana Concert on Friday, Nov. 1 at the Oxford High School Performing Arts Center.
Admission is free and the concert will begin at 7 p.m.
“This year’s show is going to be a fun one,” said Oxford Middle School Choir Director Jan Flynn.
Approximately 200 choir students in grades 6-8 will take the stage to perform a selection of patriotic songs in honor of Veterans Day.
“The music that we sing, it’s meaningful and it’s beautiful,” Flynn said.
This year, OMS students will be joined by The Macombers, who will perform a “patriotic medley.” Founded in 1970, The Macombers are the show choir for Macomb Community College (MCC). The group has the distinction of being Michigan’s very first college show choir. It performs throughout the state.
“They’re lively,” Flynn said. “They’re very well-rehearsed. Their shows are well-crafted. They pay a lot of attention to detail. The (MCC) students are very committed to their musicianship.”
In addition to music, the Americana Concert will also feature a message from guest speaker Father John A. Maksym, associate pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion and a retired U.S. Navy commander who served from 1983 to August 2014.
Maksym served with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, the legal arm of the Navy. He started out as a judge advocate, or lawyer, and later became a judge.
In 2007, Maksym served as the Major Crimes Litigation/Investigations Team Chief for the Law and Order Task Force in Iraq. He worked with Iraqi jurists and investigators, along with U.S. law enforcement agencies, to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against the Iraqi people by government officials there. Maksym coordinated the prosecution of a former minister of health and his primary aide on charges of mass murder, kidnapping and corruption. It was the first major prosecution of government officials following the restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty, according to the concert program.
After his naval career, Maksym entered the priesthood and was ordained in May 2018. He was then assigned to St. Joseph.
Flynn is “excited” to have Maksym delivering this year’s message because he’s a seasoned speaker who is “articulate” and “detail-oriented.”
To Flynn, the Americana Concert is not only a way to honor veterans and connect with the community, it’s an opportunity to convey to students that “freedom isn’t free” and veterans are “real people” who made “tremendous” sacrifices to secure liberty for future generations.
She wants students to realize the importance of becoming “good citizens” now because someday, the “baton” will be passed and it will be up to them to guard the nation.