NCO Spotlight - US Army Band vocalist believes in adapting
June 5, 2009
By Alex McVeigh
- US Army Band 'National Anthem' vocalist
- NCO to be promoted this year
- NCO says great leaders stay teachable, listen, think outside the box
- As TUSAB's 'National Anthem' soloist, most know him by his voice
Name: Sgt. 1st Class (P) Antonio Giuliano Title: Senior Vocalist and National Anthem Soloist for The U.S. Army Chorus Unit: U.S. Army Band "Pershing\'s Own" Length of Service: 20 years Q: Where are you from originally' A: I was born in Hollywood, Florida and raised in Pensacola, Florida. Q: How did you get into singing' A: I started playing trumpet in sixth grade, which was my introduction to music. I grew up in a Christian home, singing in the church choir, and I was told I could sing well. My high school had the best chorus in the state, so I auditioned my junior year and made it. My high school chorus competed annually within the state and I was good at doing impressions, especially Neil Diamond. During my junior year and my senior year, I won best pop solo vocalist in the state of Florida singing Neil Diamond's "Love on the Rocks" and "September Morn," Kenny Rogers' "Lady" and Lionel Richie's "Endless Love." It was a blast! However, music never entered my mind as a vocation; I was planning on being a Marine or a police officer. Public service, discipline, the uniform always appealed to me. I remember during my senior year, standing next to a piano, and my chorus teacher, Mary Joe Robertson, told me that I had a beautiful voice and I could be an opera singer, and it would be a shame to waste my talent in the Marine Corps. She said I should audition for a vocal scholarship at Pensacola Junior College. I said really you think so ... so she set up the audition. I'm grateful to God that my heart was coachable and I listened to her. PJC offered me a full vocal scholarship, but I did not accept it right away. I was still considering the USMC or the police academy. Four weeks passed and I saw a Time Life TV commercial of a double album of Italian opera arias sung by Luciano Pavarotti and he blew me away. I immediately called PJC Music Department and accepted the vocal scholarship in music. My teacher believed in me and encouraged me, PJC believed in me and offered me a full scholarship and Pavarotti inspired me. I went to Pensacola Junior College for two years, then to Loyola University, New Orleans, for four years on a vocal scholarship. While attending Loyola we went to sing in Nashville, Tenn., at the ACDA Convention where I saw The U.S. Army Chorus for the first time. Wow! While in the audience listening to The U.S. Army Chorus perform, I whispered to my professor how I would love to do that in the Army. Two years passed and in 1988 my professor received a phone call from the Director of The U.S. Army Chorus, Maj. Gary Lamb. They had an opening for a 1st Tenor. My professor, Dr. Larry Wyatt, recommended me. Dr. Wyatt had been an Army Band Officer at one time and that was his connection to Maj. Lamb. I prepared, flew here for the audition, passed, accepted went to Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood and I have never looked back. Q: What is your philosophy as an NCO' A: As an NCO, I have learned and I am continually learning that success in accomplishing the mission is derived from our ability to adapt, improvise and overcome. With this perspective, an NCO can grow intellectually and professionally. In order to be a great leader we must first be teachable, coachable and have the ability to think outside the box. For example, one of the skills I find most invaluable is the art of listening. It enhances our ability to communicate and assess the situation without preconceived notions. In life we must take risks, which in a military context, is taking initiative. The Army is not an individual. The Army is a team from the level of a squad all the way up to a brigade combat team. Every Soldier depends on each other to accomplish the mission. If we stay focused on the mission, we will lean and depend on each other. If we are distracted from the mission and focus only on ourselves, then that gives birth to all sorts of selfishness which leads to failure. This is what I have learned personally. Q: What else influences you' A: First and foremost, my senior drill sergeant is Almighty God. I answer to Him. I am who I am because my godly parents taught me to love God and country. Although I grew up in a Christian home I was not ready to surrender my heart to God. Not until I was about 15 years old, when a group of pro and college athletes from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes came to my school. I was on the varsity football team and ran track and field, and the FCA invited our football team to a service the following week. The only reason I agreed to attend their service was because they promised all the spaghetti one could eat after the service. I went there, heard the gospel, and it changed my life. All the spaghetti was gone but I was fed with the food of life. Another positive influence in my life is when I read about the steadfast faith in God of great leaders of our nation and military like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, General Patton and retired Special Forces Command Sgt. Maj. David L. Clark, to name a few. It speaks volumes to me when I see how these men depended on God to lead them in their daily lives and overcome adversity. The book "Landmines in the Path of the Believer" by Dr. Charles Stanley really put things in perspective for me. The most important thing that I have learned from Dr. Stanley is to have an attitude of gratitude always no matter what the circumstances. For this attitude, I must depend on my faith and depend not on my own human wisdom. Q: What are you most proud of' A: In 2007, I was taking a leadership course, and for my final project, I wanted to do something for the impoverished children living in the seventh and eighth wards in Washington, D.C. I called it "Army Strong Sings," and it was a concert of patriotic, inspirational and operatic music for children from fifth to twelfth grade. I wanted to introduce the kids to the Army and classical music. I had the assistance of my colleagues Sgt. 1st Class Leigh Ann Hinton, soprano and Master Sgt. Joseph Holt, piano. It was tough to produce, but with God's help it was accomplished. Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation Campus donated their 365-seat-theater - the only theater east of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., where children and adults alike can enjoy music, drama and dance. THEARC is a $27 million, 110,000 square foot, state-of-the art campus which houses ten cultural and social service agencies who share the goal of helping underserved children and adults reach their full potential. I managed to get a meeting with 65 principals, they loved the idea, Military District of Washington Ceremonies and Specials Events granted my request to make it an official Army mission, hired nine buses from D.C. Metro, Mrs. Virginia Dawson donated the money for that, and we had nearly 350 children attend. USAREC Baltimore Recruiting Battalion was on board, they made dog tags for each kid and showed several Army videos and handed out Army memorabilia. Throughout the show all the kids were yelling, "ARMY STRONG! HOOAH!" It was a thrill to see the joy in their faces. Q: What do you think about where you are in life right now' A: I'm honored, privileged and deeply grateful to God to do what I do. I never thought I'd be where I am today. My goal until I'm called home is to honor God in and out of uniform in all I do, say and think and try to be a good steward of the gifts He has given to me. There's nothing more exhilarating to me than singing our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," a cappella, whether it's for grade-school kids or at a change of command ceremony. It's simply an honor to wear the uniform of a U.S. Army Soldier and to be a member in the most elite men's chorus on the planet, The U.S. Army Chorus. ARMY STRONG! HOOAH!