United States Army Field Band

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U.S. Army Field Band Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
The chorus of the Army Field Band performing alongside celebrities at the 2009 National Memorial Day Concert

The United States Army Field Band of Washington, D.C. is a touring musical organization of the United States Army. It performs more than 400 concerts per year and has performed in all 50 states of the United States and in 25 countries. It is the most traveled musical organization of the United States military.[citation needed] Stationed at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, the Army Field Band consists of four performing components: The Concert Band, The Soldiers' Chorus, the Jazz Ambassadors, and The Six String Soldiers.

Every four years, the Band leads the first element of the Presidential Inaugural Parade. It has also appeared at The Kennedy Center Honors, three World Series, the Baltimore Orioles' annual home finale, the 1995 Presidential Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of V-J Day, the 40th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, the National Memorial Day Concert, the state funerals of Presidents Reagan and Ford, and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Beginnings[edit]

The Field Band was established in 1946 by Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers, Commanding General of U.S. Army Ground Forces, with the aim of maintaining the link between the United States Army and American public established during World War Two by organisations such as USO and the First Combat Infantry Band.

The band's members had to pass a rigorous audition, with the nucleus of the new organization consisted of musicians from the original First Combat Infantry Band. The new band was named The Army Ground Forces Band. In April 1950, it was renamed the United States Army Field Band.[1]

A variety of styles[edit]

Since its inception in 1946, The U.S. Army Field Band has evolved from one main performing ensemble into four separate components, including the original Concert Band.

The Soldiers' Chorus had its origins in the early days of the Concert Band, when members would gather in front of the band during shows and serenade the audience. They featured glee club-style choral arrangements of traditional and popular songs. In 1957, the unit began to audition vocalists specifically for the Chorus. The unit's first full-time female soldier-musicians joined the ranks of the Soldiers' Chorus in 1974.

In the early 1960s, the early stages of a permanent big band began to take shape. The Satin Brass and Studio Band were the first big band component, which performed separately from the Concert Band. In 1969, the Studio Band was recognized as a full-fledged performing component, and was later named the Jazz Ambassadors.

The Volunteers, a six-member band focusing on contemporary popular music, were formed in 1981.

The Concert Band has performed the National Anthem at the Baltimore Orioles' final home game of the season traditionally every baseball season, and have performed those same honors in the 1970, 1971 and 1979 World Series finales, all played in Baltimore. A recording of the Army Field Concert Band's performance of the Anthem is still sometimes used at Oriole Park at Camden Yards prior to several other home games each season, if there are no live performances planned.

Commanders[edit]

COL Jim R. Keene January 2015-present

LTC Paul Bamonte December 2014-January 2015

COL Timothy J. Holtan 2011–2014

COL Thomas H. Palmatier 2007-2011

COL Finley R. Hamilton 1999-2007

COL Jack Grogan 1991-1999

COL William E. Clark 1979-1991

MAJ Samuel J. Fricano 1974-1979

LTC Hal J. Gibson 1968-1974

LTC Wilmont M. Trumbull 1966-1968

LTC Robert L. Bierly 1960-1966

LTC Chester E. Whiting 1946-1960

Musicians, former/active[edit]

Steve Gadd (1968–1971)

Paul Stephens, lead trumpet Jazz Ambassadors (2003-2012)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General references[edit]

  • Clark, William E. "The History of The U.S. Army Field Band." PhD diss., University of South Carolina, 2002.
  • Whiting, Chester E. The Baton and the Pendulum. Clearfield, PA: Kurtz Brothers, 1963.
  • The United States Army Field Band. "Our History." The United States Army Field Band.

Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ "A History of U.S. Army Bands"] (Edition D) (for a course on the subject; Subcourse Number MU0010), US Army Element, United States Armed Forces School of Music, Norfolk, Virginia, October 2005

External links[edit]