Gwinnett Citizen News

Allan Wiltshire wants to bring a powerful movement to our community. Over the years of traveling and performing for many individuals of "The Greatest Generation," he accumulated observations of the precious treasures they have in their deep values.

Through music and performance, Allan wants to make sure we preserve those invaluable community values and help them live on in future generations. Now Allan wants to steep his observations and experiences in his local community.

In December, Standards and Classics kicked off its season of concerts with Standards and Classics of Christmas, a variety show-type performance with songs from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. On July 5th, Standards and Classics of Freedom will fill the hall of the Red Clay Theatre in Duluth. This Freedom installment of the concert series is especially dear to Allan's heart. Allan's son joined the military, starting a reflective process for Allan that transformed his outlook on the freedoms and patriotism in this country, what they mean to him, and what they can mean for others in the community.

After Vietnam, we as a country learned from the mistakes of our attitude toward the men and women serving in the military. We learned to support those individuals and show gratitude for what they do. Our service men and women protect us, but on more levels than we know on the surface. As Allan explains, "Those heroes in the military will know things that I will never know—and I'm ok with that. They see things that, luckily, I will never have to see." They do not only physically protect us, but also give an emotional line of defense, keeping the most horrible things they see to themselves. They shoulder the strain of experiences so we can be free from their weight. That is a public service we often don't consider.

So many men and women contributed to ensuring our freedoms, and sincere gratitude is an appropriate gift in return—we need to encourage "public virtue". Allan asserts that it is everyone's responsibility to protect the peace and purity of the community within our personal reach— neighborhood, local, state. This is one of the virtues that Allan wants to preserve and instill in every generation going forward. "A sense of Pride comes from deep virtues," and Allan has a passion for doing his part to nurture the best parts of the past generations into future generations.

Each Standards and Classics concert— Standards and Classics of Christmas, Standards, and Classics for Lovers, Standards and Classics of Freedom, and any others that come along—is an investment in the community. Allan and his performing company sing songs and entertain with a purpose. Allan gives the history behind the songs he shares. We may think we know the lyrics, but when we hear the real story behind how a song grew into existence, the meaning of those words change drastically. For those who lived during the time, the songs transport them back to a special memory. Allan sees it on faces in the audience over and over. He sees the joy, the tears, the laughter, the sorrow.

Allan also has a valuable, unique perspective to share. Allan is a first generation Panamanian-American, with a father from Panama and mother from Costa Rica. He identifies with both the Hispanic community and persons of color. He understands that among both groups, among others, expressions of patriotism can be a bittersweet and complicated issue. Allan's personal path to celebrate freedoms required a painful walk through history. "Understanding the cost of freedom has allowed me to appreciate freedom and to personalize it," he reflects.

Standards and Classics of Freedom is for everyone. The focus transcends and unites political affiliation, race, age, or any other way we separate ourselves. Allan wants to honor and celebrate those who have contributed to our freedom and bring the classic values that help all of us remember where we started and where we have been so that we can solidify a purpose in where we want to go. Allan sums it up beautifully when he says, "Strength and beauty of nation directly relate to the strength and beauty of its individual citizens." He hopes all who join him for this concert walk away from the evening with something to take into their own community and make every generation the greatest generation.

There will be a preview performance of Standards and Classics of Freedom at the Sugar Hill United Methodist Church on June 23rd at 10:30 am.

Standards and Classics of Freedom
July 5th 7:30pm
Red Clay Theatre in Duluth
Buy tickets at
allanwiltshire.com\standardsandclassics
Reserve seats $30 ($33 at the door)
Premium seats $35 ($38 at the door)

Sugar Hill United Methodist Church
sugarhillumc.org