Nostalgia, that feeling you get when you hear music from your past or from a period of history closely associated with a particular style of music—those emotions move us. We feel a sense of the good that was, and still is, in the heart of this country—the patriotism and pride that comes from the love of country and those who protect and serve her here and abroad. “Letters from Home” brings those sensations with every show they perform. Founded in 2010 in Winston-Salem, NC, the inspiration came directly from a veteran. Erinn Dearth, the founder of Letters from Home, remembers, “My Dad, Pat Dearth, a US Coast Guard veteran, suggested the concept to me during one of our regular Sunday night dinners. He shared his collection of records from the 1940s, and the idea took shape. As the saying goes, ‘the rest is history.’”
Their first show was at a retirement community. Initially, they performed locally. Their first large performance was for the VFW National Convention, with about 10,000 in attendance. Since their beginning, they have held performances in 41 states and will be touring overseas soon. They’ve done shows at theaters, air shows, schools, patriotic celebrations, military bases, VA hospitals, VFWs, American Legions, and on cruise ships. Letters from Home gets around!
A Letters from Home show is packed with high energy, great music, tap dancing, and interaction with the audience. You’re likely to see happy tears, lots of smiles, some singing, and maybe even some dancing from the audience. “Our shows are reminiscent of the Bob Hope-style of entertainment,” Erinn explained. “Those USO shows were designed specifically for the troops. We do the same thing with many of our show designs—targeting the era when our veterans served. Our goal is to revive those feelings of patriotism; for the older generation; it’s important to be remembered, for the middle generation to gain a renewal of love for country, and for younger generations to get a sense of what our veterans gave for our future.” Erinn noted that sometimes after one of their shows, veterans have begun talking about their experiences for the first time.
The Letters from Home team consists of Erinn, Courtney Groves, and Dan Beckmann, who sing and dance on stage and out in the audience. On special occasions,Lynn “Win” Roberts does great impersonations of Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, and more. Together they put on quite a show, interactive and with great joy and humor. The veterans thrive on the fun and interaction; many end up with big red kisses on their heads or find themselves on stage or dancing with one of the team. “During one of the “Flights of Honor” trips Letters from Home participated in, one of the veterans started jitterbugging with me,” Erinn recalls. “He was 91 years old. Afterward, his caregiver brought over his wheelchair after we finished dancing. It was such a special moment for all of us.”
Letters from Home has several period-based shows. “Sentimental Journey” is unique to the World War II era, “We Gotta’ Get Outa this Place” is designed for Vietnam veterans, and their Christmas show is called, “Love to Keep You Warm.” Letters from Home refreshes their shows every year; no two are exactly alike. Their costuming fits the period, and the music is tied to the theme of the show. They may be in uniform, in fringed outfits for “Proud Mary,” or in ‘40s, Marilyn Monroe style-dresses.
For information on their show schedule and more, visit their website (lettersfromhomesingers.com, or the group’s e-mail (LFH@firstflightentertainment.com). Follow them on their Facebook page as well (lettersfromhomesingers). Enjoy the show!
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