Sacred Spaces

Tour has officially begun! Yesterday, the Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus performed the first concert of Fall Tour at Northern Arizona University, debuting one of our new productions, “Sacred Spaces,” which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Grand Canyon being designated a national park.

While we will perform this production multiple times during tour, the target for the last year has been this concert at NAU. The event was a truly collaborative effort, as we partnered with the West Point Glee Club (the storied chorus comprised of Cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point), Emmy Award winning composer Jeff Beal (who wrote a new work for the Field Band to celebrate the Grand Canyon; he also conducted the premiere), the Grand Canyon Conservancy, the National Park Service, Classical Arizona PBS (who carried the live broadcast), and Chinle High School and the Navajo Nation (one of the 11 Native American tribes associated with the Grand Canyon).

The show tells stories about the Canyon and our relationship to it – from the thousands of visitors who enjoy the Park each year to the Native Americans who have had a relationship with the Canyon for centuries – the Grand Canyon has filled us with awe and inspiration, securing its place as one of the true natural wonders of the world. I saw it for the first time last year and it truly was amazing.

We spent most of Saturday in the hall setting up and doing tech rehearsals; then a dress rehearsal in the evening. The following day was the concert. AZ PBS did an outstanding job running the broadcast and our production team really outdid themselves conducting the interviews and getting footage for the video vignettes, and creating a coherent and meaningful story that provided context for the music. Musically, the Band, Chorus, and Glee Club knocked it out of the park – a superb performance, especially considering it was the first one of tour. I wish we could take the Glee Club with us the rest of the time; they added so much to the presentation!

Once again, I’m very honored to be associated with this organization, which continues to raise the bar for connecting Americans to their Army and showing why America remains a nation worth protecting.

You can watch the performance on our YouTube channel here.

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Review – Nomatic Messenger Bag

As anyone who follows me on social media knows – whether on the road for my job or vacationing with my wife – I do a fair amount of travel. One thing my wife and I are (possibly unhealthily) addicted to is finding travel hacks, travel gear, and travel clothing that makes our time on the road more efficient and comfortable.

Luggage, packing cubes, water bottles, clothing, shoes, toiletries – you name it, we’ve looked into products that are built with the traveler in mind. My last post I wrote about the Apple AirPods that I’ve begun using, especially while traveling. They’re intuitive and very useful for an Apple person like me. So, I thought I’d write about some other products that I use for travel. Hopefully, you’ll find it useful, and if I hurt your wallet, sorry!

First, the “problem.” For a long time now, my personal bag (where I keep my iPad, phones, keys, headphones, etc.) while traveling has been a backpack, currently an Osprey. It’s a very good daypack, but in the end it’s a backpack. I’ve been wanting to find a more efficient and elegant solution, especially for work and air travel when I dress more smartly and when a backpack is less than ideal.

A few month ago, I started to look at messenger bags when I came across the company Nomatic (actually, I think my wife found them first, which is normally how thing work:-)

Nomatic is a company that crowdfunded their bags on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, beginning with a large travel bag before moving on to smaller versions, including a backpack. Each of their campaigns have been very successful. They also have a laptop bag along with the messenger bag I purchased. Their current crowdfunding campaign is for a line of luggage…no, we’re not thinking of buying them…seriously…well, maybe the large checked bag. Sometime in future because we obviously don’t need it now.

So, the Nomatic Messenger.

Messenger with my water bottle in one of the magnetic bottle holders.

First off, I like the techie, modern look of the bag. Right off you can see the two magnetic bottle holders. When a bottle is removed, a little nudge puts the holder flush against the bag like the one on the left. The bag is water resistant, and I can attest to the claim. Empty, the bag is 3.8 lbs, so it certainly isn’t light.

So, what’s so great about this bag? When it comes to either my EDC or travel gear, I want everything to have its place; Nomatic bags have a lot of pockets and places for my stuff.

The outer compartment.

This outer compartment has the four little pockets you see, places for pens, plus two zippered pockets – one of which is RFID-blocking and lockable (a great place for your passport). The white cord on the left is connected to a power bank; it is threaded up to an easily accessible phone pocket so you can charge your phone while you store it.

The main compartment.

The main compartment has a zippered pocket you can see part of on the bottom of the picture. The main feature, however, is the customizable interior. The bag comes with two different storage sleeves that velcro to the back of the compartment. Utilizing the velcro dividers, the one pictured can have one, two, or three spaces for your stuff. The other sleeve is more for documents. The bag also comes with a sunglasses case (seen on the left).

Laptop and tablet compartments.

On the left side of the bag you can see the two different compartments for a laptop and tablet respectively. Very protective and very easy to access. On the right side is another view of the pass-through for the power bank cord. This also provides a good view of the ingenious shoulder strap with magnetic clasps. My only beef with the strap is that since it can rotate 360-degrees, it can get easily twisted; it also can just as easily be untwisted.

A look at everything I had in my bag for my most recent trip.

Overall, I’m very happy with this bag. It holds everything I need for both work and leisure travel, has a place for everything, and is much more efficient than a backpack. You can check the company out for yourself here.

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Yes, I need one more set of headphones!

So, I have a problem. I love gadgets and technology. The techier (that’s a word right?) the better. If I can buy something with Apple Pay, I will. If I can put a ticket in my Apple Wallet, it’s a no-brainer. Use Alexa to turn on my home theater? Check. Use my Apple Watch to take a phone call so I can talk to someone like I’m Dick Tracy? Hello. Continue reading

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Spring Tour 2019

A couple of weeks ago, the Field Band returned from our Spring tour of the Northeast. It was my first time with the Field Band in that part of the country, but of course not my first time there! I enjoyed our time in New England and upstate New York particularly, since I grew up about 20 minutes south of Boston and earned my Bachelor’s degree in upstate NY. As a result, I enjoyed meeting up with friends and family throughout the tour! Continue reading


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Fall 2018 Tour

So, I noticed recently an uptick in my readership, which I don’t understand because I am awful at this blogging thing. Considering we are now a month out from our Spring tour, I thought it was about time to write about our Fall tour of the West Coast. Continue reading


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On the Road Again…

The Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus’ three-week summer tour took us through parts of the Midwest, one of the highlights being concerts alongside the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for their annual “Salute to America” during the Fourth. But we began our tour in beautiful and historic Chautauqua, NY, a lake-side resort community that is home to the Chautauqua Institution. The Field Band has performed at the Chautauqua Amphitheater 36 times since 1973, often performing the opening concert of the season as we did this summer. Continue reading

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Everyday Carry – What’s in your pockets?

Everyday carry or EDC has gained popularity over the last few years; there are countless blogs and websites dedicated to the subject and tons of videos on YouTube with guys doing the “pocket dump,” showing what they carry and why. I have to admit I’ve watched my fair share…and it has nothing to do with my obsession over gear. One of my favorite things to do when I’m passing time on my iPad is to go to the Everyday Carry site and check out the gear people are carrying. Continue reading

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