Tag Archives: COVID19

Why We Serve

Crazy. Not too long ago I wrote about how the Army Field Band’s tour of the Upper Midwest was cut short due to COVID-19. Well, since that time – just a couple of weeks ago – the world has changed.

Here in the U.S., whole states are shutting down in an effort to curb the spread of this contagious virus. Businesses are closing up shop. Restaurants are only allowed to deliver food or do carry out. Of course millions of people are either working from home or are wondering if they’ll have a job waiting for them when this is all over.

The anxiety, fear, and need for human connection is palpable, which is why the Field Band’s virtual concert series, We Stand Ready, has gained steam over the last couple of weeks. Beginning on March 20th, we began broadcasting daily a mix of pre-recorded and COVID-compliant live music to entertain, comfort, and connect.

Our incredible team of soldiers quickly pivoted from performing live concerts on the road to transforming our rehearsal facility into a makeshift TV studio

The level of dedication, creativity, and effort to pull off a daily broadcast cannot be overstated. It has been nothing short of inspiring to watch this unit respond to this crisis. Only a military band can provide this type of service because we don’t represent ourselves or a city or a state. Military bands represent the government and the country. Hearing songs of comfort from celebrity artists from their homes is cool. Hearing it from a soldier in uniform is something completely different.

Our soldiers’ efforts to create beauty, connect with people, and provide a source of strength, comfort, and resilience the way only a military band can has garnered interest from all over. Millions of people have viewed our content over the last couple of weeks; thousands have started following us on social media; and the media – hungry for a positive story – have taken notice.

Keep tabs on the Field Band at our website: http://www.armyfieldband.com and tune in on Facebook and YouTube.

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An Unprecedented Tour

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.

http://www.armyfieldband.com

@ArmyFieldBand – Facebook

The United States Army Field Band – YouTube

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