May 6, 2011; Source: Business First Buffalo | We couldn’t say it better ourselves, so we’ll just quote Dave Filenwarth, executive director of the Lancaster Opera House: “Timing and luck are everything.” Filenwarth was commenting on the fact that the week before Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, triggering a surge in patriotic feelings across the country, singer Lee Greenwood donated to the opera house the hand-written lyrics to his ultra-popular 1984 country music hit “God Bless the USA.”
The opera house, located a few miles east of Buffalo, N.Y., had planned to auction the lyrics for its summer fund-raising auction. But to capitalize on the current swelling of national pride, it is now offering to make a gift of the lyrics to the first person who donates $25,000. That’s how much the 375-seat performance house – which stages plays, musicals and concerts – needs for new lighting and sound equipment. “We’re hoping someone will donate that amount in exchange to have this one-of-a-kind thing as a conversation piece for the home or office,” Filenwarth says.
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Following the first Gulf War in the 1990s and again after the September 11 terrorist attacks, “God Bless the USA” for many “became a modern-day national anthem,” the Buffalo News reports. In at least one poll, it beat out the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America as the most popular patriotic song.
The $25,000 question, of course, is does someone want the hand-written lyrics enough to pay that much for them? “The value is unknown, but a lot of people are attached to this song,” says Filenwarth.—Bruce Trachtenberg