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.
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