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.