President Lincoln is paying a visit to the Sandusky State

The Firelands Symphony Orchestra celebrates Veterans Day early this year with its “An American Salute” show.
John Benson
Nov 8, 2012

Want to go?
WHAT: Firelands Symphony Orchestra’s “An American Salute”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
WHERE: Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky
COST: $25-$28 (students with school ID, veterans of the armed services and active duty personnel with military IDs get in free)
INFO: 419-626-1950 or www.sanduskystate.com

The patriotic pops concert, which takes place Nov. 10 at the Sandusky State Theatre, features a variety of acts including Lincoln historian and impersonator Jim Getty, who will narrate Aaron Copland’s “A Lincoln Portrait” and the Gettysburg Address.

“I’ve done the show with [conductor] Carl Topilow,” said Getty, calling from his Gettysburg home. “I used to teach school in Sandusky. I was the high school choral director for many years. We have many friends there, so it’ll be like a homecoming. This is kind of neat to come back and be connected with an orchestra that evening.”
 
Topilow said Getty was charming on stage when he presented roughly the same show with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.
 
“This guy is the expert on Gettysburg, and this is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War period,” said Topilow. “I thought he would be a really nice connection for this concert, which is about patriotism and really pride in our country.”
 
Also, a local honor guard will do the Presentation of Colors and Sandusky High School’s KeyNotes will sing the “Star Spangled Banner,” Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes” and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” 
 
Musical selections for the evening were chosen in cooperation with Getty, who is one of the country’s foremost historical interpreters. Getty noted that President Lincoln often asked for Steven Foster tunes to be played at White House receptions and was fond of the “Soldiers’ Chorus” from Gounod’s opera, “Faust,” which he saw three times at Ford’s Theatre.
 
For more than 35 years Getty has made his living portraying America’s 16th president. His travels have taken him around the nation but nothing touched him more than performing in Washington D.C.’s famous Ford’s Theatre.
 
“To step out on the stage and look up at the box where his life was really taken, it all gets to you, it really does,” Getty said.
 
The funny thing about Getty’s career choice is it came off the cuff from someone who mentioned when he was a Sandusky High School teacher that his beard made him look Lincoln-esque.
 
“It changed my whole occupation from being a high school choral teacher to being a professional who works in the field of Lincoln portrayals,” Getty said. “I left Sandusky, moved to Gettysburg and started a little theater. I’m constantly researching and learning more and more about Lincoln. The study always goes on.” 
 
One person Getty said he’s looking forward to getting in front of is Steven Spielberg, who releases his new film “Lincoln” on Nov. 16. In conjunction with promotion for the feature, the Academy Award-winning director will be in Gettysburg next month.
 
“He’ll be here when we do an annual tribute to Lincoln,” Getty said. “He’ll be the main speaker and I’ll be honored to sit next to him and give the Gettysburg Address.”
 
When asked if he’s mad the director didn’t call him for an audition, Getty laughed, “No, I wasn’t expecting a call from him. I’m not at that level. These are big names.”
 
As far as “An American Salute” is concerned, Getty is hoping audiences walk out with a new respect for one big name, Lincoln. 
 
“I just hope they reflect upon Lincoln as the leader he was and needed to be at the time. And how much he felt indebted to our veterans,” Getty said.