282nd Soldiers serve as Army's musical ambassadors
July 7, 2014
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (July 3, 2014) -- Soldiers, civilians and family members on Fort Jackson might be aware of the 282nd Army Band's performances on post in ceremonies and concerts, but the band's reach goes far beyond the gates of Fort Jackson.
The band executes between 60 and 100 command outreach missions per year in a geographical area that spans from Tennessee to Florida. Not included in that number are approximately 90 funeral missions annually and almost 50 Basic Combat Training graduation ceremonies on post.
"The 282nd Army Band is a valuable part of Fort Jackson's command outreach program," said Kara Motosicky, Fort Jackson community relations officer. "They reach out to a lot of different audiences in the region through performances, ceremonies and education. They are great representatives of Fort Jackson and the Army."
Warrant Officer Thomas Jackson, the 282nd commander, said the band tries to reach out to communities as much as possible.
"There are certain regulatory guidelines in which we have to work," Jackson said. "We always make sure that we're not competing with any local talent. We try to make sure that we are telling the Army story or putting a positive light on the Army every time we go out and perform."
The Soldier-musicians' command outreach efforts include performances by the 282nd jazz combo, rock band, brass quintet, tuba/euphonium quartet, brass band and concert band.
Jackson called the band "the smiling face of the Army" and added that military musicians have a unique way to reach the civilian population.
"Especially in these days of fiscal uncertainty and a downsizing Army it's good to remind the public about the organizations that have fought for the rights that the public maintains," he said
For Sgt. Joshua Hunt, who is the 282nd trumpet section leader, community concerts are a way to touch people's lives through music in ways other military personnel may not be able to, he said.
"You can reach people on all different levels -- healing emotionally coming back from deployments to just uplift in celebration like we're about to do for the Fourth of July," Hunt said "You never know that one person out there who really, really needed it that day."
Jackson said his own career in the Army started 12 years ago as a result of hearing military musicians perform as part of their command outreach mission.
"As a middle schooler and as a high schooler I saw military bands come through in marching band competitions. I saw them come through and perform in my hometown, in my high school theater. And it showed me that there was that life outside of high school marching band. So I went on and pursued a degree in music performance and joined the Army," he said.