Every evening before the main concert event at the 25th annual Ribfest, Exchange Club President Walter Johnson has appeared on the Navistar Stage to update audiences about the event, thank sponsors and celebrate one of the service club’s missions, Americanism. The nightly patriotic tribute has included a Presentation of the Colors and the singing of the National Anthem.
During festivities to open the evening on Mon., July 2, before Joe Nichols performed, seven-year-old Parker Grace Murphy captured the American spirit of the Independence Day holiday with her rousing rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Considered to be a most challenging song to sing and oftentimes a “litmus test for patriotism,” young Murphy belted out every note with precision timing, evoking cheers and applause from the appreciative audience, not to mention a few tears for Old Glory.
Afterward, the youngster from Burr Ridge, accompanied by her parents and younger brother, said that in recent months she had been singing the National Anthem at various race events. While attending a benefit for autism, Exchange Club President Johnson saw her perform and invited her to sing at Ribfest.
While onstage with the Color Guard and backstage, photographers snapped photos of Murphy with Mayor George Pradel, Johnson, Ribfest Chairman Mark Wright and many others.
In addition, on Monday evening Johnson recognized Bruce Erickson, one of the original idea people behind the first Ribfest in 1988. Members from Naperville Bank and Trust, including President Tom Miers, also were recognized by the Exchange Club of Naperville for the bank’s generous $30,000 sponsorship of 2012 Ribfest.
The final day of 2012 Ribfest is now in progress until 10PM, Tues., July 3. Fireworks are scheduled today at 9:30PM.