The Spirit Of America Tour is a non-profit organization that brings headline entertainment to America’s stateside military bases.
The Spirit of America Tour was created in 2002 to bring major stars to America’s stateside Military Bases, as volunteers, to give shows that boost the morale of the men, women and families of our fabulous Armed Forces. Since then the tour has arranged 115 concerts. These shows have been headlined by some of America’s greatest artists. A complete list of who has participated in Spirit of America Tour events can be found by clicking “Artists” at the top of this page.
To hold these concerts the Spirit of America Tour asks the Agents and Managers of the American entertainment industry to urge their Star clients to volunteer their services to give concerts at military installations with the understanding that the tour will pay all of their reasonable expenses in making the appearance.
The Spirit of America Tour is a project of the Robert and Nina Rosenthal Foundation, Inc., a California non profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
For the record no officer or director of either the Rosenthal Foundation or the Spirit of America Tour receives any remuneration, direct or indirect. They are pure volunteers.
IS THE CREATOR AND PRESIDENT OF THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA TOUR
When Robert Rosenthal retired from practicing law in 2000 he thought he and his wife, Nina, would simply remodel their house, go to the movies, read good books and stay active in charity work. 9/11 changed all that. Robert decided that he had to do something for America and he started off, just like he did during the rest of his life, like Gang Busters!
He and Nina talked about what they could do and he started looking around the internet. His research showed there was a true need. No one in America was bringing headline entertainment to stateside Military Bases. Stars for Stripes was doing a bang-up job overseas and the USO was trying to fill in a couple of overseas gaps, but no one was covering the Stateside bases. The Spirit of America Tour was created to fill that obvious need.
As Robert knew he would need a professional partner in Nashville to make the Tour work he teamed up with his friend Cathy Gurley, a major Nashville publicist and manager. He then approached the Pentagon and in 2002 a try-out run of five concerts were brought to the Armed Forces, including Marty Stuart at MCAS New River in North Carolina. That show generated an audience of 3,000 and Robert and the Spirit of America Tour were off and running. Since 2002 the Tour has brought 115 shows to the Military through the end of 2009.
Nothing in Robert’s background educated him towards the concert industry, but he is the book definition of a “quick study” which is why he was so successful in his pre retirement life. Robert jokes that he never fit the mold of a “typical Jewish boy from New York.” As a teenager he worked as a cowboy at a cattle ranch in Arizona. “The best three Summers of my life, even with the outdoor plumbing.” He even rode broncs in the Snowflake, Arizona, rodeo. “Snowflake’s Pioneer Day’s rodeo was really not ready for a New Yorker.” After that he was all ready to go to the University of Arizona and study Ranch Management, but his father put a stop to that, “Robert, Jewish boys do not study Ranch Management!”
So it was off to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. ROTC at Penn was an important part of his undergraduate life and at graduation he got his commission in the Army. Robert served two years of active duty making movies at the Army Pictorial Center in New York and as Pictorial Officer, 1st Signal Group, in Orleans, France, followed by four years in the New York State National Guard’s 101st Signal Battalion.
After the Army Robert spent some time as a broker at Merrill Lynch and helped make a few movies. The financial markets weren’t his cup of tea so he started his own documentary production company garnering many awards including the Cannes Film Festival’s prize for documentary pictures.
Finally Hollywood called and he moved there in 1970. Determination is Robert’s middle name and within a year he had produced “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me,” based on the Richard Farina book, for Paramount. His friends in the music industry were called upon and Jim Morrison wrote the song “Been Down So Long” which The Doors performed.
Robert has always prided himself on having a realistic view of life which has served him in good stead. When he completed “Been Down So Long” he gave himself two years to get another picture in production or he was going to get out of the movie business. The idea of being a hanger-on in Hollywood was anathema to him. Well, deals were made, but nothing came of it. “I looked at the money that the studios paid me to develop projects and realized this was the nuttiest business in the World. I had the niftiest office on the lot, the great secretary, the projects ‘in development,’ the invitations to all the parties, but nobody would give me a go. So off I went to law school.”
Robert graduated from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles in 1976. He waited until he got his first case, opened an office and never looked back. He practiced litigation until his retirement in 2000.
Robert never forgot that the mark of a man’s success is based on his attitude to his fellow man and his community so philanthropy was always a major part of his life. Robert has served on numerous Boards including Public Counsel, the Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel (The Jewish Olympics), the Professional Bull Riders’ Resistol Relief Fund, the Valley Community Clinic and the Western Music Association.
Robert was also appointed to the California Athletic Commission, California’s Boxing Commission, by the Governor of California.
Now, though he considers himself a retired attorney, Robert spends 100 percent of his time on the Spirit of America Tour. “It’s amazing that in a country of 300 million people, so few truly understand that our great freedoms are protected by an underpaid, understaffed and under appreciated standing Armed Forces. I’ll do anything I can to make sure we never lose them and the fabulous members of the entertainment community who perform at our concerts agree with me. Thank God for these great Americans.”
IS ONE OF THE TOP PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS
IN THE COUNTRY MUSIC INDUSTRY
During the past 20 years Cathy Gurley has headed her own public relations company in Nashville, Tennessee. She has represented numerous prominent members of the Country Music Industry including stars like Garth Brooks, Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette, Patty Loveless and Marty Stuart. Prior to starting her own firm Cathy was head of creative services for Capital Records. While at Capital Cathy helped create the campaign for Garth Brooks, thus launching his meteoric career which made him the biggest selling artist of all time.
Cathy has been a member of the Academy of Country Music since 1989 and served a term on its Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Country Music Association.
Cathy has been involved in numerous non profit organizations including the prestigious Country in the Rockies which benefits the T.J. Martell Foundation at the Frances Williams Preston Labs at Vanderbilt University’s Ingram Cancer Center.