Star Spangled Salute
April 30, 2020
After hearing “The Star Spangled Banner” on a local radio station, Met-Ed employee Stacy Gautsch had an idea: maybe her two sons – along with a friend – would play the national anthem for their neighbors in East Berlin, Pa.
The boys jumped at the chance. After a short practice session, they began performing the national anthem each day at noon from the Gautsch family’s front porch. Steve Gautsch, 16, plays alto saxophone, with friend and neighbor, Ryan Gebhart, 15, on trumpet. During the first few performances, Jack Gautsch, 13, joined in by proudly displaying the American flag. He now plays the drums. Neighbors listen to the daily rendition – with hand over their heart – while practicing social distancing.
Steve plays the alto sax with Ryan on the trumpet and Jack holding the flag during one of the boys’ first front-porch performances. (Photo credit: Hanover Evening Sun)
“We wanted to bring happiness into our community even in the midst of troubling times,” Steve told a local newspaper. “Also, we wanted to remind everyone that we are Americans, and as Americans we should stick together even if we are isolated from each other.”
A Facebook video of the boys’ inaugural performance on March 24 has been viewed more than 29,000 times from people as far away as Australia. The story also has been featured by local and national media. Their performances are streamed live every day starting around 11:58 a.m. under Noon National Anthem Facebook group.
Ryan and Steve are both members of their high school marching and concert bands and Jack was in the middle school band. With schools in Pennsylvania closed indefinitely, the boys plan to continue playing the national anthem until the end of the school year on May 29.
“We’re extremely proud that the boys are committed to bringing hope and patriotism into people’s lives during these times of uncertainty,” said Stacy, an advanced Forestry specialist at the Hanover Customer Operations Center.