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"Puerto Rico Army National Guard Band" the 248th Army Band.

Following a musical heritage of military bands dating back to the year 1899, the Puerto Rico National Guard's 248th Army Band was established in 1946. Its main purpose is to aid in fostering and promoting troop morale and civilian/military relations in support of military operations conducted in times of peace or war. Acclaimed as the "Ambassadors of the American and Hispanic Heritage Musical Expression," the 248th Army Band has performed in Italy, Panama, the Caribbean islands and in numerous states of the Union, as well as throughout Puerto Rico. It has also made notable appearances before various U.S. presidents (William McKinley, Theodore J. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy), King Juan Carlos from Spain, and Pope Paul II, among others.

Composed of 40 professionally talented musicians from Puerto Rico, the 248th Army Band is currently under the baton of Yauco-born Commander & Conductor, Warrant Officer 1 Luis J. Santiago, a Berklee College of Music graduate. Among the numerous ensembles that form part of the 248th Band family are a Concert Band, a Ceremonial Band, a Stage Band, a Rock Band, a Salsa Orchestra, and small combos and chamber groups capable of producing music for any occasion. While all military bands have specific ensembles, what sets the 248th apart from others is its powerhouse salsa orchestra and its unique bilingual force that appeal to all audiences.

First Sergeant of the 248th is Francisco Joubert (trombone). The high

brass section consists of SPC Jose Bocanegra, SGT Enrique Matos, SGT Carmelo Molina, SGT George Pabon, SSG Daniel Quinones, and SSG David Santiago (trumpets), SGT Rafael Collazo (French horn).


The low brass section consists of SSG Jesus Melendez and SSG Pedro Sanchez (trombones), SPC Jose Burgos and SPC Angel Almodovar (euphoniums), and SGT Victor Ortega and SPC Arnaldo Tarrios (tubas).

The woodwinds section consists of SSG Jose Cruz, SPC Angel Candelario, SPC Hiriam Ortiz, SPC Maria Sepulveda, SPC Luz Vazquez (clarinets), SPC Ismael Santiago Jr. (tenor sax), SPC Erick Amador and SPC Jose Reyes (alto saxes), SGT Jorge Rivera (baritone sax), SPC Leonardo Ayala and SPC Jose Vazquez (bassoons), SSG Luis Rivera, SPC Aristides Gonzalez and SPC Dianneliz Garcia (flutes).

The rhythm section consists of SSG Jose Nogueras, SGT Luis Sepulveda and SPC Pilar Alvarez (drums), SGT John Rolon and SGT Luis Mercado (guitars), SSG Ismael Santiago Sr. (bass), SPC Jose Ferrer and SSG Jorge Ramos (piano and keyboards). The 248th Army Band is currently working on a Christmas recording intended for free distribution to Puerto Rican troops abroad during this coming holiday season.

With headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the 248th Army Band is always looking for talented musicians. Latin Beat Magazine salutes the 248th Army Band.

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Title Annotation:Latin Beat Profile
Author:Mangual, Rudy
Publication:Latin Beat Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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