Tag Archives: Army Bands

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.

The Band and Chorus at the newly-renovated Chautauqua Amphitheater.

Of course before the concert we had to have lunch, and the Chautauqua Firefighters have a tradition of selling BBQ chicken at the start of the concert season.

The Band performed for a large, appreciative audience – many of whom said it was the best program they could remember the Band performing. The Colonel had decided to do The Army Story for this concert; it ended up being the right move.

One of the cool things about our job is performing at all kinds of venues and Summer tour was no exception.

Grove Bandshell in Mayfield, Ohio

Wooster, Ohio public square

1st Infantry Museum

Another tradition (along with beginning Summer tour in Chautauqua) is performing for the students at the large Music for All camp in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State University. Now, I’ve done concerts for large and appreciative audiences before, but the student audience at Music for All were on a different level. They treated the Band like rock stars. It was pretty cool.

As I said earlier, the Band and Chorus performed four Salute to America concerts with the Detroit Symphony in Dearborn, MI at Greenfield Village on the grounds of The Henry Ford Museum. The concerts were well-attended, with audiences ranging from 13-18,000 people.

The concerts were true collaborative efforts, with the Band and Orchestra trading back and forth throughout the programs, applauding for each other as each performed. The evenings ended with the Orchestra and members of the Band performing 1812 Overture and then Stars and Stripes together as fireworks shot into the sky. Very impressive.

Equally impressive is Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Greenfield Village features almost one hundred historic buildings that were either moved to the property for preservation or re-created for future generations to learn about America’s rich past. The actual museum is like a mini Smithsonian, but the centerpiece is the massive collection of historic vehicles. If you want a detailed look at one of the great museums in the country, check out my wife’s blog posts; but here’s a little taste:

Wright Brothers’ family home

Noah Webster’s home

Teddy Roosevelt’s 1902 Brougham

The car JFK was killed in Dallas, 1963

1931 Bugatti Royale, sold for $30,000, which would be over $430,000 in today’s dollars.

An original Blue Bird bus.

Of course we had to have lunch at the newly opened Ford’s Garage, which is just down the road from the museum.

With all of the concerts with Detroit Symphony in the evening, we were able to check out a special exhibit at the Detroit Institute for the Arts – Star Wars and the Power of Costume – an exhibit featuring original costumes and concept art from the movies. Again, my wife wrote extensively about this, but here are a few shots:

The Emperor from Episode III

Concept art of Queen Amidala

Concept brought to fruition.

Luke from Return of the Jedi.

The droids.

Overall, it was a wonderful tour with great venues and opportunities to experience different facets of the American experience. With planning ramping up for Fall Tour and our recording session at Skywalker Sound, there’s little time for rest.

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Field Band in Puerto Rico

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

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Join the Army. Travel the World.

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

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Thank you, Korea

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

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Mission Command and Army Bands

Mission Command. It just sounds cool. Like this picture.

 

It’s also the way the Army is supposed to conduct business. So, what is it? BLUF: It’s the name we’ve given to the thing that good leaders have done for a long time – exercise “mission command” rather than the stuffy and outdated “command and control.” Who does that anymore?!? Well…plenty of people. We call them “old school” leaders. Bad leaders? Those were your words, not mine. Continue reading

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Army Music – Music Under the Stars

One of my fondest memories of my time as a lieutenant (I don’t sound like an old Soldier there, do I? Yikes.) was serving as the Executive Officer of The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Band (although back then, it was called The U.S. Continental Army Band). There were a lot of great things about that assignment, but what truly set that band apart, in my humble opinion, was its summer concert series, “Music Under the Stars” or MUTS. Continue reading

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Army Music – Wreath Laying Ceremony

From time to time, social media or an occasional article on military bands gives people an opportunity to voice their support or displeasure with the money spent on military music assets. This is often followed by a wave of comments both for and against. I’m biased, but I also speak from first-hand knowledge and experience. Seventeen years worth of experience. Does the Department of Defense wisely spend every dime of the American taxpayer’s money? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say…no. Continue reading

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