We’ve lived in the best of times. We should be thankful.

     This is about having a great day this past Sunday, when the patriotic aura among Americans got caught up in the moment, without prompts.

     Yes, gone are the days when we would see all Americans, of all colors, ages, ethnic background, religions and sexual orientations, stand to express their love of country. Yes, we are imperfect and mistakes are made, and individual prejudices exist to be sure, but when comparing the USA to the rest of the planet, I’ll take our freedoms and opportunities before any other nations in the world.

     Retired Medical Examiner, Dr. Jay Barnhart and myself have been entertaining and playing at private clubs, civic organizations, libraries, assisted living facilities and many other private stages for the last twelve years, a couple old-timers with long careers in public service who still like to play with their toys.

    His toy is a piano. Mine is a violin. Our mothers forced us to practice and take lessons when we were kids, and we are forever grateful. We came to call ourselves the Dick-Doc Duo, a former Homicide “Dick” and Medical “Doc.” People love us because they see how much we enjoy music and the smiles from people in the audience.

     The key is to have fun, not being so serious. We may include audiences in our repertoire, often playing requests from the old days, or presenting a myriad of genre, including love songs, Movie themes, Broadways hits, ethnic stuff like Gypsy, French, Spanish, Irish whatever, even a mix of George Gershwin or Stephen Foster. Yes, we can also do classical…in which we never make mistakes (ahem).

     One of our most memorable on-stage moments came last Sunday, February 17, 2019, at the Cocoa Beach Library which was filled to capacity, as it is every year when we’re invited to entertain. It was a particularly good day as this audience was truly engaged. “La Vie en Rose,” asked one lady, who then sobbed when we played that song. “Fiddler on the Roof,” was one request as was “Ashokan Farewell” from the Civil War television series. Many more.

     It was time to finish. We always wrap up with a tribute to our beloved country. After thanking everyone for being there, we embarked on a rendition of “America The Beautiful.” No sooner than the first line was played, and without prompts, every human being in the room rose to their feet and joined in singing the song of America. The moment was so genuine, my hair rose on my arms.

     Yes, we have lived in the best of times.

Here’s a brief cell phone video of that moment (URL):



  1. Jose February 22, 2019 at 8:48 pm #

    Beautiful, simply beautiful! Thank you for your timely reminder!

  2. Joseph Pesce February 22, 2019 at 11:01 pm #

    Absolutely, still the best nation on earth, and the best nation to have ever existed. Unfortunately people who grew up in this relatively peaceful environment, sheltered and ignorant of what others did to to produce it, are slowly tearing it down.

    Fantastic rendition of America the beautiful.

  3. Anonymous February 23, 2019 at 9:26 am #

    Fabulous, still the best. You guys rock and I have enjoyed many of your shows in the past and hope to do more in the future. Keep me advised please. Loved the rendition of America the beautiful.

  4. FRANK MUSSOLINE February 23, 2019 at 9:27 am #

    Fabulous, still the best. You guys rock and I have enjoyed many of your shows in the past and hope to do more in the future. Keep me advised please. Loved the rendition of America the beautiful.

  5. Tom P February 23, 2019 at 11:35 am #

    Hi Marshall, I’m sure it must feel good for you to still contribute in some small way to the happinesses & joy of our society. Keep up th work Ole buddy! I’m proud to call you my friend! Tom

  6. MZF February 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm #

    Marshall, this is a great piece. Am tired of hearing people denounce this country and talk of leaving it. We may have some faults, no one is perfect, but America is still the best in the world. Thanks for what you do………….

  7. linda rovin cooper February 23, 2019 at 1:11 pm #

    Marshall, the love for our country you both show is so lovely.
    I cried, not only hearing the people’s voices singing America the Beautiful who appreciate our country, but for the possibility that our country may never be the same.
    Bless you both.

  8. Thomas Ault February 23, 2019 at 2:26 pm #

    You have always been an entertainer, at least since I have known you. You have taken the time to be gracious, and also enlightening. Your have made kind remarks and also some necessary condemnations.

    All in all, you are what Americans should be about…love of country, justice for your fellow men and women, and above all, a great human being.

    Keep playing my friend.

  9. Kay Williamson February 23, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    What a big and wonderful crowd…know it was a great program

  10. JustMe February 23, 2019 at 6:18 pm #

    Thank you for reminding your readers about this great nation of ours and that there
    are still plenty of us who love it and are willing to say so.
    God bless America. And God bless you and Doc for your willingness to share your
    many talents with others and for your patriotism.

  11. Gigi Andreades February 23, 2019 at 7:13 pm #

    Hi Marshall

    I think that it is fantastic all you do.
    That is your great bringing up from Vivian.

    God bless you


  12. Old Gray Haired Jack Milavic February 24, 2019 at 3:09 pm #

    Sir Marshall,

    It is truly a privilege and honor to be able to say I have known you for many years and consider you a great friend. Your talent is only exceeded by your charisma and fantastic personality.

  13. WILL SOLEN February 24, 2019 at 5:23 pm #

    Marshall I know this must be another great piece of yours. If only I did facebook..

  14. Jeanne (Toomey) Volk February 24, 2019 at 6:27 pm #

    You all look great and like you’re having a super time. Love seeing these pictures of you And how much you enjoy playing to crowds.

  15. Christopher Jones February 25, 2019 at 10:32 am #


  16. Don G. February 28, 2019 at 11:12 am #

    It was wonderful watching the older crowd show their patriotism.

  17. Anonymous March 1, 2019 at 4:43 pm #

    Wish I was there.May God Bless you both