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
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Constitution, its Bill of Rights, and the document’s relevance to our world today. There was even an op-ed in the New York Times recently by a “professor of constitutional law” that argued citizens should “give up on the Constitution.” (I won’t link to the article or state who wrote it because its not worth your time and I don’t want to provide him with any more “hits” than he’s already gotten. If you want to read it, a simple Internet search will find it.) Suffice to say that in my opinion (and this is my personal opinion), his students are wasting their money. Continue reading
I’m all for efficiency but I’d like to know where the $125M number came from (since some Soldiers I know – who knows, maybe me – would lose their job come October 1 if this trend continues — oh, wait, no one told you that?).
I’m no genius but does anyone really think this is like building fewer jets or buying fewer wickets to bring down spending? The bulk of that $325M budget goes to Soldiers’ salaries and equipment; not concerts or trips across this great country performing for Americans so that they can feel connected to the men and women who have sworn to protect their way of life, and for them to feel good about their military and their country, since for probably 90% of the population, the only military member they’ll meet face-to-face is a military musician. Continue reading
So you’re at a military band concert, and it’s coming toward the end – you know this because they just played the “Armed Forces Medley,” and you proudly stood when the Army Song started because your father is a Soldier serving overseas. Now they’re playing “America, the Beautiful” and you can feel your heart swell with pride as images of America play across a large screen; the music ends with a flourish and a rousing final chord as an image of the Statue of Liberty is shown. The crowd erupts and you stand as one Nation. The conductor takes a bow and leaves the stage. The audience calls him back because there’s one piece you haven’t heard yet – one piece you must hear before the concert is complete. Continue reading
It began with a series of articles by an ill-informed Washington Post writer. Then came articles in the New York Times. Now another series of questions have arisen regarding military bands and their worth from another fuzzy math writer. It’s gotten to the point where some people wonder why we have military bands at all. Now, I’ve already talked a little about this here and here. But I will now offer a complete thesis on the subject: Continue reading