Happy Birthday Pete DuPre', 97 Years Young
BY DAVE SHEA
Ogdensburg native Pete DuPre' has become A national sensation in last two years playing the national anthem on his harmonica at high ranking sporting events such as NFL Football, the NBA and the Women's World Cup of Soccer. He also stole the hearts of the viewing nation of "Good Morning America" with his floating music and endearing smile.
According to media reports DuPre’s rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” caught the attention of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins before a game with Oakland Raiders. Cousins would later remark "Here’s to “Harmonica Pete,” a local veteran spreading joy throughout the nation."
In 2018, DuPre', who now resides in Fairport, spent his Veterans Day in Normandy, France for the Armistice Day ceremonies and upon his return delighted the crowd at the Rochester Airport with a tune on his harmonica.
An amazing video of Pete playing "Amazing Grace" was produced by the Greatest Generations Foundation in January 2019 in Normandy when he first met the US. Women’s National Soccer Team. It was this meeting that led to the invitation from US Soccer to play the National Anthem at the send off game prior to the World Cup that made him an internet sensation last Memorial Day weekend.
In Fairport and to media all over the world he is known as "Harmonica Pete".
Several family members and residents of the Ogdensburg area know him and love him as "Uncle Pete" who has been playing the harmonica since his childhood days. He grew up on the St. Lawrence River and for many years rented a camp on the river in the summer months where he passed on the secret to filleting northern pike and preparing "Poor Man's Shrimp" with the filets.
On Monday Fairport, NY celebrated Pete DuPre' birthday with a parade of cars, music and signing all within the bounds of social distancing. Of course, Pete joined in with his harmonica behind a face shield.
His daughter Mary Anne DuPre' provided a description of the gala event on her facebook page.
"Best laid plans actually worked!
The nurses came down from the Baptist Home singing Happy Birthday and visiting and he thought that was it!
As they were there, the Police escort for the parade came up the other entrance and the parade began with the Penfield Emergency Volunteer Ambulance trucks leading the way, followed by Several friends on motorcycles, VFW, American Legion, Honor Flight, Blue Star Mothers, and more. All through this, local musicians stood across the street and played patriotic music as well as bagpipes!! He was smiling like a child. It was amazing!
I also love that all the seniors in his living community were invited to come out of their homes and enjoy some music, fun and have a big reason to smile and feel part of the event. ❤️ Thank you everyone, not only for coming out but also for honoring social distancing and wearing masks to protect him and everyone else. Thank you so much!!!"
Videos of the birthday celebration can be seen on her facebook page.