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.
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
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
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
Last month, I accompanied the Soldiers’ Chorus of the Army Field Band during their goodwill mission to Puerto Rico. In the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes that hit the island, it has been a slow recovery. But, what was evident during our short time there is that the people of Puerto Rico are resilient and can truly serve as an inspiration to us all. Continue reading
So, it’s been three months since my last post…I’ve been at my new assignment, The U.S. Army Field Band, for over six months and haven’t done a blog post about the job yet…you could say I’m terrible at this blogging thing and you’d be right! But better late than never.
I’ve been with the Army Field Band since September and have already gone on two tours – one, a 21-day tour of the Midwest; the other, an 18-day tour of the Southeast – both shorter than their usual 30-40 day tours. I have to say it’s been nice to be eased into the touring thing with these shorter tours! A rude awakening is coming next spring when we tour the Northeast. I know; I’ve seen the draft schedule.
Shortly after I arrived (and after taking some PCS leave after returning from Korea), I hit the ground running as the Band was preparing to do a recording of Leonard Bernstein’s music in celebration of his 100th birthday in August 2018. My role was to organize and run the schedule as well as assist the lead engineer in the booth during the recording sessions. It was a great learning experience working with a Grammy-nominated engineer. The Band played well and I was immediately impressed with their nuanced musicianship. It’s funny how when a band is stabilized and performs a lot together, they sound really good. Huh… Continue reading
Last week, after 22 months of serving in the Republic of Korea, I relinquished command of the Eighth Army Band to a friend of mine and I’ve begun in-processing Fort Meade for my new job as the Deputy Commander of The U.S. Army Field Band. While it’s great to be back in the States and serving at the Field Band, it was tough to say goodbye to our home for the last two years.
We made a lot of friends and created many great memories that we will re-live through our thousands of photos (digital photography is one of the great inventions for travelers). While we were able to get some great travel in to Japan, Thailand, and of course Bhutan, the two things that made these last two years so special was the beauty and hospitality of Korea and the Korean People and the unique and important mission of the Eighth Army Band…and Korean fried chicken. Continue reading