Throughout the history of our country, those who have served and are serving in the military, along with their families, are owed a debt we can never repay. The words “thank you” do not come close to the appreciation we have for our military. In decades past, the USO would travel to our troops and boost morale while keeping them connected to family, home and country as they served in foreign lands. Along that same idea of the USO is Letters from Home, a musical review started in 2010 by Erinn Dearth, of Winston-Salem, to honor veterans, active military heroes and their families.
From January-March 2023, Letters From Home will be embarking on a 50-States Tour, performing in each of the United States.
The show began when Erinn Dearth was having Sunday night dinner with her dad, Pat Dearth, a veteran of the Coast Guard, who passed away in 2015. “Letters from Home began as an Andrews Sisters tribute for WWII veterans,” Erinn said. “Since that time, it has developed to honor all veterans of all generations with many different styles, all reminiscent of the USO.”
The nationwide touring team consists of six main players: Erinn and her fiancé, Dan Beckmann, who is the taller and funnier half of Letters From Home, the show’s ground manager, Myra Miller who has traveled with the group many times with her company, Footsteps Researchers, stage manager and sound technician Grace Reasoner, assistant stage manager and lighting technician Tyler Zickmund, and a documentarian, Jack Waiterman, who will be filming the entire tour of stops in all 50 states. Beckmann will be taking the footage Walterman captures and will be creating a documentary about the tour and the impact it makes across the country.
Dancing and Singing Across the Country
Erinn has been singing and tap dancing since she was three years old. Dan started getting into theater in high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota and had a natural gift for singing. Dan was told his entire life he couldn’t be a dancer, but a few years ago, Erinn was able to teach him, and now they are both singing and tap dancing their way across the country on a slightly updated mission.
“While our overlying mission is to honor veterans, this tour is also about uniting the nation,” says Erinn. “We believe that politics and patriotism are not the same thing, and no matter what’s going on in the world, music is something that brings people together to remember the things that are truly important. We’re hoping that these shows will be uplifting, perspective changing and healing for the entire country.” In the 12 years since Letters from Home began, this is the first time that the group has performed in all 50 states, and the task of taking it on in just four months is certainly an exciting one.
Dan is also an award-winning photographer with his company, Dan Beckmann Photography. Along the journey, Dan will be capturing images in all 50 states. While audiences are enjoying the show live, the group will also entertain online through their Facebook and Instagram pages, and a 50-States Tour blog which will feature photos taken by Dan.
The tour kicks off close to home on January 24th, 2023. Letters from Home will host a kick-off press event on January 24th, 2023 at Richard Childress Racing in Lexington. This is a free event that is open to the public. The event will include performances, meet and greet with the cast, special presentations from Footsteps Researchers, and an overview of the tour.
Tickets for all 50 venues are now on sale in each state, and you can find the show closest to you on the Letters From Home website. While prices vary depending on the venue and costs in each state, Erinn says if there are veterans who can’t afford tickets to the shows, they will gladly be comped in. “We truly just want to honor veterans everywhere and will find other ways to cover expenses,” she said.
There are also sponsorship opportunities, both locally and nationally available for the tour.
For more information on the tour with dates and ticket prices, visit LettersFromHomeSingers.com. To follow the Letters from Home tour, check out facebook.com/LettersFromHomeSingers. The official North Carolina stop of the Letters From Home 50-States Tour will be Thursday, May 25, 2023 at The High Point Theatre in High Point.