Jefferson City Band Plays Memorial Day Concert

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JEFFERSON CITY - Leigh Anne Torres picks up her oboe and is transported back to 2003.

"My husband is a veteran.  We were dating when he was deployed, but not married yet.  [Playing] reminds me a little bit of how much I missed him."

Leigh Anne's husband, Jason Torres, served in the Army for seven years, and deployed to Iraq from 2003 to 2004.  He was a scout platoon leader, commanding Abram tanks and leading escort missions in Baghdad.

Leigh Anne sits with her oboe in the front row of the Jefferson City Community Symphonic Band's fourth annual Memorial Day concert.  In the world she remembers in 2003, Jason is a world away.  But in 2013, Jason is across the stage, nestled not into a tank cockpit, but the percussion section.

Leigh Anne and Jason play for the band, which held its third Memorial Day concert at First Christian Church in Jefferson City.  The band played a selection of patriotic and military songs, including "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood, "Hymn to the Fallen" from the film Saving Private Ryan and the famous marching tune "Stars and Stripes Forever."

"For me, the concert is a way for me to give back to those that have served, as well as to kind of honor the memories of these soldiers that I served with," Jason said. "Some of them that did come back and some of them that did not."

Jason and Leigh Anne said music helped them express their emotions.

"It transcends language," Jason said.  "Music is something that, no matter what the language is, it's something we all understand, something we can all feel, an emotion.  So it kind of brings us all together as a human race."

"Music is very expressive," Leigh Anne said with a grin.  "If you're not particularly really expresses all the things that you're feeling without having to come up with the right words."

"In general, people want to celebrate and recognize the efforts of our service organizations, what they've done, what they've provided for our country [and] what they do for us every day," band founder and conductor Paul Hinman said.  "That's what the day is all about, is that remembrance."

Hinman said, as a community organization, the concert aims to remember the sacrifice military personnel and their families made.

"Some of our families have paid the ultimate price," Hinman said.  "To not recognize that, and not do something to honor that effort, and that commitment, I think, would be not doing justice to what our organization serves."

The Jefferson City Community Symphonic Band will play the Fourth of July celebration in the state capital.