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The sacred church of classical music in Boston, Symphony Hall, was transformed into a honky-tonk Monday night (Sept. 23) as The Band Perry, Big & Rich, The Henningsens, Cassadee Pope and others took to the stage at the “Mission Gratitude” benefit concert.
The show, which also featured actress-singer Rita Wilson, who posed with The Band Perry backstage, and comedians Sarah Silverman and Darrell Hammond, was a fundraiser for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, which provides aid and counseling for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their families coping with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
The home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops was filled with soldiers—including three Medal of Honor recipients – who hooted and hollered along with Big & Rich, stomping through acoustic versions of hits like “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and “Comin’ to Your City.”
The duo received a warm ovation for “8th of November,” their moving tribute to a Vietnam veteran, which they dedicated to all of those in the house. “If you wonder what makes America exceptional, it’s the men and women in this crowd,” said John Rich. “God bless you for your service.”
(John also elicited laughs when he revealed he participated in a local karaoke contest, singing “Save a Horse [Ride a Cowboy],” and finished in second place.)
Family band The Henningsens brought the crowd to its feet with a beautifully harmonized, a cappella rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Cassadee Pope, most recent winner of The Voice, played tunes from her upcoming album, Frame by Frame, including current hit “Wasting All These Tears.”
And The Band Perry brought the night to a rollicking close with their hits “Better Dig Two,” “If I Die Young” and “DONE.”