Elmira NY's own Sgro Brothers (former Marines with the second Air Wing Band) have forever dreamed of meeting their ultimate patriotic goal of performing for the President of the United States. A dream that, until recently, has not seemed attainable.
A long time friend and past entertainer (now Executive Legal assistant), Michelle White, took her husband to Atlantic City some years ago to see the Sgro Brothers play at the Show Boat. He enjoyed their music and form of entertainment, and liked Dom and Tony so much, that when the time was right, he set the stage for their big chance. He told his wife, "I want them to play because I think they will make the President smile".
On June 15, 2004, the Sgro Brothers, Dom and Tony, accompanied by keyboard player Jerry Kozic, were invited to play at the Congressional Picnic held on the South Lawn of the White House. For 1/5 hours, from the center of the Kennedy Garden, they performed for the President's guests as they joined the picnic. Those in attendance were President Bush, the First Lady, the Vice President and his wife, Senators, Congressmen and their families. This year's theme was the ultimate in patriotism, with the guests surrounded by musicians representing every branch of the military, including a drum and fife band. The Marine Corps Band (the Presidents' own) played from atop the Truman Balcony, overlooking the South Lawn with the Washington Monument in the distance. The guest list was estimated at 1,700.
During their Kennedy Garden performance, Congressman Amo Houghton, from Corning, New York, recognized the Sgro Brothers and approached them to congratulate them on their appearance at the White House. Congressman Houghton said: "Fellows, outside of the Vatican, it doesn't get any better than this".
Both the President and Vice President spoke to the guests, after which, the President and First Lady took their seats to enjoy the performance. Scheduled to play the main stage, when their time arrived, the Sgro Brothers took the stage and dedicated their first song, The Yellow Rose of Texas, to President Bush, his wife Laura and all Americans. It took only the first few notes of the opening dedication to get the President's attention. As the crowd clapped to the beat, President Bush looked directly at the stage, smiled and gave an enthusiastic 2-thumbs-up. They closed their performance by playing The Stars and Stripes Forever.
Following the performance, the performers and some guests gathered for a photo-op with the President. The Sgro Brothers, their accompanist and their wives were last in line to greet the President, who graciously spent several minutes chatting with them on a personal level, giving them compliments on their music.
President Bush was warm, pleasant and noted that it was his honor to have the Sgro Brothers play at the White House. It was truly a prestigious event and a moving experience never to be forgotten