Seneca Hills Village honors veterans with musical event
Residents at a Penn Hills independent living facility came together a few days before Veterans Day to sing patriotic songs in honor of those who served.
Lucille Spengler, 83, organized the program that brought around 50 residents down to Seneca Hills Village’s main lobby for the singing of familiar songs led by pianist Joe Hajdu and the Seneca Hills Village Chorus.
The chorus, which Spengler formed in June, is made up of 23 of the facility’s residents. Four of those singers are military veterans. Spengler said she does not have a background in music.
“I’m just good at organizing people,” she said. “It was just the right thing to do.”
Many in attendance tapped their feet and smiled as the choir led them in singing tunes like the “Star Spangled Banner,” “My Country ‘tis of Thee,” “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”
The group also sang through the Armed Forces Medley, songs representing the country’s five military branches. Veterans stood or held up hats when their branch’s song rang.
Chuck Licata’s favorite tune to sing and hear was “God Bless America,” which transported him back to younger days. He’s lived at Seneca Hills Village for three years, or, in his words: “For too long.”
The 97-year-old, who hails from Natrona Heights, served in the Army from 1943 to 1944 in Germany.
“There were a lot of close calls,” he said shortly after the program. “There was a guy next to me that got shot.”
Gerald Boggess, 81, said the singing was nice. He is a member of the choir.
“I just wanted to honor everybody surviving their 80s and 90s,” Boggess said. “I’m here among heroes.”
Boggess, a Navy veteran, served in San Diego through the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 until 1966. When discharged, he served in a reserve group and retired in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He moved to Seneca Hills Village two years ago.
Chuck Landsbaugh, 74, sat next to Boggess before the program began. The friends connected with similar military experiences. Landsbaugh also served in the Navy in San Diego, but he started in 1967.
Part of his service involved traveling to Vietnam’s coast to pick up war prisoners to ship them back to the states.
“This sort of thing makes you feel like you done a good job,” Landsbaugh said.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .