Nine days ago, the Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus began what was to be a 22-day tour. We could certainly see what was transpiring across the globe – particularly in Europe – with COVID-19, but we hoped it wouldn’t affect our ability to do our mission. Well, instead of being in Indianapolis preparing to head to Chicago, we’re in Wheeling, West Virginia preparing to finish our two-day trek home.
The tour started off really well, with a great crowd at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh seeing our “America, the Beautiful” production – a production I really like…probably because I conduct it. Our next major performance was in Sandusky, OH at the Sandusky State Theatre. Another enthusiastic crowd.
The next performance, this time of “This We’ll Defend” – a production that tells the Army story from WWII to the present – was at Cleveland’s Mimi Ohio Theatre. This was the first performance where we could tell the virus had an effect on our audience numbers. The Mimi is a wonderful, historic hall.
We then made our way to the Indianapolis area in preparation for our concert at the Palladium in Carmel, truly one of the most spectacular venues I have ever performed in. Here’s a pic from the last time we were there:
A couple of hours before the concert, the Governor of Indiana (like many of his colleagues) made the decision to limit public gatherings and cancelled our concert. That would have been our last concert of tour because our Commanding General – in consultation with my boss, the Surgeon General, and his staff – had decided that in the interest of safety for the public and our soldiers, it was time to come home. It’s too bad we weren’t able to do that one last concert at the spectacular Palladium.
Particularly disappointing was that we never got the chance to perform our concert at Chicago’s Symphony Center, which would have been a first for the Field Band.
Now, as we enter a period of uncertainty where public gatherings are discouraged for good reason, what does a unit like the Army Field Band do to not only continue its mission of connecting Americans to its Army but remain useful and relevant?
I’m glad you asked. Stay tuned to our website and social media for details. We have something fun and unprecedented for a military band planned for next week to help fulfill our commitment to those communities that we had to cancel on and all of those that are looking for something to entertain them while they hang out at home.
@ArmyFieldBand – Facebook
The United States Army Field Band – YouTube