Unbelievable!

I will keep this short, but I just wanted to share a few thoughts about Celebrate America from Saturday night. In the video below, you’ll see one of the highlights, which was supposed to happen a bit differently than it did, but I was the beneficiary of a happy mishap. What you’re about to see was supposed to happen before my song started, but as it turned out, it happened while I was singing. It was an incredible moment for me, and I think you’ll get an idea of how charged up the audience was in how it worked out. I’ll never forget it.

I’m hearing estimates of over 14,000 people attended Celebrate America Saturday night, and I’m pretty confident they all left happy. I’m proud of our church and all the volunteers who participated to make it happen. I’m blessed to have been a small part of it.

I’m sure more videos will hit the internet as we go, so maybe I’ll post some more as I discover them. But I did want to share this moment with you.

Celebrating America

It’s that time again. Tomorrow night, thousands of people from all over Northern California will descend upon Twin Oaks Park in Rocklin, CA to celebrate this amazing country. There will be some very fun moments for the entire family throughout the afternoon and into the night. There will also be several poignant moments which surely will cause your heart to stir with emotion and pride.

The United States of America is a relatively young country when compared to many which have ancient histories. Some of our history is rather unflattering. Such is the nature of our human existence. Our greatest strength is also our greatest vulnerability. 

Freedom.

In this land of ours, we are free to pursue our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Throughout our history, heroes have laid down their lives as a sacrifice to provide us with, and to defend our freedom. Ironically, were it not for those who have heroically and selflessly put themselves in harm’s way, people would not have the freedom to stand up and protest and criticize the very foundation upon which this country was built.

In God We Still Trust

At Celebrate America Saturday night, I am blessed to be singing solos in two wonderful songs. The first is one I’ve sung many years, Hero For Today. The second song is new to me, but it has quickly captured my heart. The song is called In God We Still Trust. The message is very close to my heart, and has been the subject of more than one post here on Crossing Paths. Many take offense to the presence of God in the foundation of our great country. Many point to the imperfections of our founding fathers, and their faith in God, in an effort to justify their pursuit to secularize and neuter this unique nation. As believers, we must stand up and let our voices be heard that we will not quietly and passively allow the mortar in our country’s foundation, faith in God, to be removed systematically. The underwhelmingly small number of nay sayers have rattled the cages of the majority. In the ironic and completely inaccurate guise of “tolerance”, they have shown absolutely no sensitivity to the overwhelming majority who love this country and believe in the moral fiber woven into stars and stripes by the blood of our Savior, and the men and women who have sacrificed their own lives.

I cannot wait to sing these songs, as well as the many others which will serve as a reminder of what our country is all about. This is not a political rally. People of all races, religions and political ideologies will make up the crowd of patriots tomorrow night. This is a night to put all our differences aside, and celebrate what unites us. Even if you don’t subscribe to the idea that is “one nation under God”, hopefully you can respect that those of us who truly seek to emulate the values and practices of Jesus Christ, genuinely love this country and those who don’t share our beliefs. We simply wish that those who disagree with us would show “tolerance”. But even if they hate us, we still love America. We are tenacious about protecting and practicing the freedom purchased for us on battlefields both here and abroad, as well as on the cross. 


I hope you’ll join us tomorrow night for Celebrate America! For more information, including details about our very special musical guest, four time female vocalist of the year, Natalie Grant, please visit www.CelebrateAmericaOnline.com.


God bless you, and God bless the United States of America!

 

Remembering and Honoring

On this final weekend in May, as in every year, our country observes a time of remembrance of our military troops, both past and present. I am filled with awe whenever I spend time with someone who has served our country in time of conflict. Listening to their stories leaves me speechless. 

The phrase All Gave Some, Some Gave All best sums up those who have served to protect and defend this great country. Many have done so at the expense of their families, their futures and their dreams. Sadly, many came home to an ungrateful nation. Many face physical and financial hardships few of us can comprehend. We walk right by them every single day. I see elderly men who proudly wear hats identifying which Navy ship on which they served. Others have pins and buttons signifying their branch of military. You have probably seen license plate frames on cars proudly indicating the driver laid his life on the line for us. 

It is so easy for us as humans, and as Americans, to take the good life for granted. September 11th is so far removed from our consciousness that we complain when we are inconvenienced at airports. Americans who watched planes impale the World Trade Center, killing thousands, have put down their American flags and now carry picket signs in a war of words against their fellow citizens. 

We have forgotten.

This weekend, as you barbeque with friends and family, as you celebrate the unofficial start of summer, as you travel near or far in this great country, remember. Remember that this country exists only because there were men who were willing to lay their lives on the line in order to stand up for their freedom and carve out a new life in a new, undeveloped land. Remember that the freedom we enjoy now, the freedom to complain, the freedom to protest, the freedom to disagree, the freedom to worship, the freedom to not worship, the freedom to pursue your inalienable rights bestowed by our Creator, whether you believe in Him or not. 

When you see that veteran in the store, Starbucks, in a restaurant, or anywhere in your journey this weekend, take a moment and thank them. If you have more than a moment, take the time to listen to them. Listen to their stories. Listen to their love of this incredible country. I guarantee you, you will bless them, and you will walk away changed. This country isn’t about politics, and certainly not about politicians. It’s about the men and women who have put it all on the line for everything you and I enjoy daily. 

May we never forget. 

Last Look at Celebrate America 2009

Celebrate America in Rocklin is now history. I captured a few of the moments before, during and after the show on video, and I want to share them with you here. We had nearly 10,000 people at Twin Oaks Park in Rocklin, and I really believe every single one had a good time. There were lots of smiles, lots of love poured out on our troops, both current and past, and a little something for people of all ages and backgrounds.

If you weren’t able to attend, it looks good that we’ll be back in 2010. If you were able to attend, I hope you had a great time! I’d love to hear your comments!

If you haven’t checked out the videos I made during production week, they’re posted on my YouTube page, www.youtube.com/sng4hymn.

Singing on Sacramento & Co.

This morning, a group of us from Celebrate America sang on ABC 10’s morning show, Sacramento & Co. We had a lot of fun, but as you’ll see in the video below, you have to take your preparation seriously…especially when singing in the morning.

We’re having a lot of fun, but we have one more night of rehearsal tonight. It’s a big night because all the kinks have to be worked out tonight! Showtime is only about 27 hours away from the time I write this, so this is it!

Here’s a little behind the scenes flavor from this morning’s activities.

Celebrate America

This week, I will be serving as a contributer to the blog on our Celebrate America website. I’d like to invite you to check it out, not only for my contributions, but to see the progress of the production as we ready ourselves for this huge undertaking. You can also follow my updates on Twitter, as well as my YouTube page.

The story of how this all came about, and how a year’s worth of work and preparation had to be crammed into just a few short months, is simply miraculous. We are excited and humbled at this tremendous opportunity we have to present this wonderful celebration to our community.

If you’re in the Sacramento area this Saturday, I hope you’ll consider joining us at Twin Oaks Park in Rocklin. The gates open at 3 PM, the show starts at 7:30, followed by a spectacular aerial fireworks show.

We are blessed to live in a country for which so many have laid down their lives. There are people who have lost their lives on this very day in Iran who yearn for what we take for granted. While I thank God we don’t face this kind of terror, I wonder if life is just too simple for us to appreciate the liberty we enjoy without thinking.

This is the time to stop and recognize those who have sacrificed. This isn’t about politics and whether you’re conservative or liberal. We are all Americans. And in one voice, we Celebrate America.

Production Week

Well, this is production week. Actually, things started to ramp up a little on Saturday as we sang inside the Galleria mall in Roseville. This week is going to be crazy and fun. Maybe even crazy fun? Today and tonight is something of an off day, but Tuesday through Friday nights are rehearsals out at Twin Oaks Park in Rocklin. Friday morning, I’ll be singing on at least two morning TV shows promoting the event for Saturday.

I took some behind-the-scenes video from Saturday, and I’ll do the same throughout the week. You can check them out on my YouTube page. Feel free to stop by and check it out throughout the week. The video below is from just before we went on to sing our first set on Saturday. This elderly gentleman is proudly wearing a hat identifying himself as a pilot in World War II. Over 1,000 WWII veterans die every day, and it was an honor to meet and speak to this man.

We’re very excited to be presenting Celebrate America to the community. We love our country. This isn’t about political ideology or anything. It’s not to promote an agenda. It’s literally to celebrate this great country and those who have sacrificed to defend her. It’s going to be a great day and evening, and will be a great time for the entire family. For more information, check out the Celebrate America website.

T-Minus 29 Days

And so begins the countdown. This will be my 12th consecutive year as
part of a patriotic production known as Celebrate America. However, this year’s will be very different for me, as I will be doing a totally different show in a totally different community.

Despite the shows having the same name, and even some of the same songs I’ve been part of in the past, the shows are very different. I’m very happy because I will be reunited with a song I have always enjoyed singing. The song is called Hero For Today. The first time I sang it before an audience, we were honoring a hand full of Pearl Harbor survivors. We had a great video clip with footage from the attack from December 7, 1941, along with some interviews of those who were there on that fateful day. When the video ended, the gentlemen in attendance who we were honoring stood as they were introduced to the audience. They then stood at attention as the song’s introduction started. I’m a pretty emotional guy, and in that moment, it felt like I had a volleyball lodged in my throat.

This song has always been special to me, but because we did it so many years in a row, it got put in mothballs for the past several years. So, it will be a personal thrill to sing it again, this time for an entirely different audience.

The chills on my arm, however, will be very familiar.

The show will be on June 27 in Rocklin. There will be a full afternoon of family activities, followed by the show at 7:30. Once our show is done, there will be an aerial fireworks show for the entire city. Admission to the park where the festivities will be held is absolutely free. There will be food and beverage vendors who will have food for sale, or you can bring your own picnic basket. Alcohol will not be allowed or provided.

I’m very excited we have this opportunity. It’s a very cool thing how it all happened. Let’s just chalk it up to another one of those “God things”. There simply is no other way to describe it.

For more information about the show, check out http://celebrateamericaonline.com/

Also, the city of Rocklin has included details about the production right on the city’s official website. They tell a little bit more about how the perfect timing of our show coming along fit in with the city’s economic belt-tightening. Check it out here.

In the days leading up to, and including the day of the show, I’ll be sharing my experiences, pictures and comments on my Twitter page, at http://twitter.com/coreymatelli

I hope to see you there…or here. Either way!