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
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
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
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