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!
I again can’t say enough good things about the Soldiers of the Army Field Band. They were amazingly consistent during our 35 day tour that saw us perform 29 concerts in addition to a bunch of educational outreach clinics and masterclasses at schools. What a lot of people may not know is that – like Army bands in the rest of the field – they set up and tear down their own concerts; there’s no stage crew doing the work for them. Now multiply that by 29 and you see why I have a lot of respect for their consistency and professionalism as performers.
There were a lot of cool moments for me personally during this tour. At the top of the list was that my mom was able to see me conduct a concert for the first time since I’ve been in the Army!
At that same concert in Duxbury, MA I was able to catch up with my high school band director and several friends from my home town.
One of the cool things about the Northeast is that it has a lot of great theaters. First up, the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT. Built in 1931 in the Art Deco style, the building was doomed in the 1980’s for demolition until a grass roots campaign by the citizens of Torrington saved it. In the early 2000’s it underwent a massive restoration, restoring it to its former glory. This included recreating the original art work and contacting the textile company that originally made the carpet to recreate the original design!
The Greek revival architecture of Springfield, MA’s Symphony Hall is wonderful. Built in 1913, the hall’s acoustics were as superb as the aesthetic..
At the State University of New York in Fredonia they happen to have a fine arts center designed by the great architect I.M. Pei who designed (among other things) the pyramid at the Louvre and the JFK Library. While his style is not my favorite (modernist/cubist), his skill is unquestioned. Performing in one of his buildings was an honor.
One more beautiful hall to highlight (there were others but I can’t possibly list them all) is the last one of tour in Philly – Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. It’s a performance hall and museum in one.
Another fun, grueling, successful tour. As always, if you want to read a more detailed account, check out my wife’s blog here.