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The U.S. Army field band.

ALTHOUGH some are familiar with the military through newspaper headlines and cable news, many Americans have found a personal connection to all Soldiers through the efforts of one unit--The U.S. Army Field Band.

Part of the Army's Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, the Washington, D.C.-based band travels thousands of miles each year. The Field Band was founded in 1946, and since 2005 has reached more than five million Americans through live and televised performances, given free of charge.

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Four Components

The band consists of four performing components and administrative and operations sections that coordinate the touring schedule.

The Concert Band, which includes woodwinds, brass and percussion, typically tours with the mixed-voice Soldiers' Chorus. These groups perform everything from patriotic standards and pop arrangements to classical.

Another ensemble, the Jazz Ambassadors, was created in 1969 to bring jazz treasures and more contemporary melodies to new audiences. And the Volunteers, a combo featuring male and female vocalists, performs contemporary rock, country and pop music.

An Important Mission

Besides entertaining Americans at home and abroad, the unit's instrumentalists march in the presidential inaugural parade every four years. And the Soldiers' Chorus, as a part of the Armed Forces Chorus, has participated in the state funerals of former presidents.

The band's recordings and DVDs, provided free of charge to schools and universities across the United States, encourage performance of American music and are used by instructors to improve musical skills and techniques. Band members also develop clinics, workshops and concerts to meet students' needs.

A recent sponsor described the impact of these experiences.

"The band and chorus represent all the right values, and so many band directors are looking for what you provide," wrote Ms. Sue Buratto, a teacher in Fort Worth, Texas. Another teacher, Ms. Barbara Barnes of Shelbyville, Tenn., wrote: "The Volunteers performed for fifth through eighth graders, and held their undivided attention. The kids didn't want it to end!"

Effective and Rewarding

"Bands are one of the Army's most effective tools for outreach, whether displaying the excellence of America's Army to our citizens or challenging young Americans to answer the call to duty," said incoming Field Band commander Col. Thomas H. Palmatier.

"The really rewarding part of our job is thanking veterans, Soldiers and their families for their service and sacrifice in communities across the country that wouldn't otherwise have any contact with the Army," added Lt. Col. Beth Steele, deputy commander of the band. Every Field Band concert includes, when possible, a tribute to operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, in which returning Soldiers join the band to be welcomed home by their local communities.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Army News
Author:Russo, Erica
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2007
Words:444
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