By Sophia Ricco
As “Ambassadors of America’s Gratitude”, the American Bombshells will celebrate the military, veterans and their families on the stage of John W. Engeman Theater at Northport on June 17.
The American Bombshells have been dazzling crowds for nine years with an All-American show, that spreads a message of appreciation to those who serve. Started in 2011 by Ali Reeder of Centerport, the American Bombshells have toured across the world, performing for members of every war.
“I wanted to marry my vision of live music and my love of country,” Reeder said. “I am a very patriotic person, my husband served in the Marine Corp, and I just wanted to see more music in the world, that was uplifting and positive.”
The American Bombshells bring to life patriotic anthems like “America the Beautiful,” “Proud To Be an American” and “God Bless America” in three-part harmony, as well as music that spans from the 30s to 60s. The performance at the Engeman Theater will feature singers, Rayna Bertash of Centerport, Crystal Cimaglia of Deer Park, and Vanessa Simmons of California.
“Music is one of the best ways people can communicate, particularly with the thousands of strangers we meet wherever we go,” Reeder said. “The message of our show is one of love of country and gratitude to our service members. I truly believe when people leave our shows, they feel fuller in their hearts for this service.”
A staple of every show, “The Armed Forces Branch Salute” highlights every branch of service and touches everyone in the audience, whether they served or someone close to them has, Reeder said.
“There’s always an opportunity to be grateful for everything that we have. Even in tumultuous times, as someone who has been to every part of this world, we do have a lot of blessings here,” she added.
The Bombshells are a “modern-day twist on the Andrews Sisters.” They transport the audience back in time with a carefully-crafted retro aesthetic. The women achieve a “timeless” look, from makeup to hair to costumes. Even their choreography is reminiscent of girl groups of the past, with fun, flirty and energetic movement.
“All of the songs are sung in an ‘Andrew Sister’s fashion’ with really tight harmony,” Reeder said. “This is our signature. Harmony is not an easy thing to learn or perform. These girls are masters of their craft. We want to deliver something that is technically complicated, but comes off as seamless and effortless.”
The American Bombshells give back to the military and veterans in a multitude of ways. A recognized charity, American Bombshells has donated to Boots and Suits and service dogs for veterans. For venues that partner with charities, the group makes performances cost-effective, allowing more money to be donated. They hope to raise morale with performances overseas, in hospitals and at special service member events, often spending quality time with them afterwards.
“It’s more than just the musical capacity, it’s taking the time to sit with people, and appreciating what they sacrificed,” Reeder said. “It’s much more personal. It’s a very intimate thing for us when people decide to trust us with their memories and cherished tales of their loved ones. It may be the first time a World War II veteran talked about his days on the battlefield or his brother who didn’t make it home.”
This special performance partners with the Northwell Health Foundation and proceeds benefit the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and their Families (UHBC).
“The Northwell Foundation does a tremendous amount for our military, more than most people realize,” Engeman owner, Kevin O’Neill said. “Veterans are treated at the Northport VA, but the UBHC provides care for the families that are suffering along with them, while that veteran is making his or her adjustment back to life as they knew prior to them being deployed.”
The American Bombshells performance at Engeman Theater is June 17. Purchase tickets at EngemanTheater.com or call 631-261-2900.