The 36th Army Band entertained visitors from around the world at Disneyland recently.
While many visit the California theme park for a relaxing vacation, the group from Fort Huachuca filled a hectic schedule, offering a concert in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle, a performance by the "boogie down brass band" at the New Orleans CafAfA, a ceremonial flag retreat, and even leading a parade down the center of Disney's Main Street, U.S.A.
Disneyland was the second stop of a tour that lead to San Diego, and Yuma and Camp Verde, Ariz. The band regularly travels throughout the southwest region promoting community relations and enhancing the Army's image through music.
Sgt. 1st Class Amy Morgan, chief of operations, 36th Army Band, explained visits to places such as this are important because the park attracts a diverse group; a microcosm of the United States population, a segment that is perfect to spread the Army message to.
"Events such as this help put the Army in the public eye," Morgan said. "They also help us showcase the Army to those (persons) not familiar with the military, and hopefully we can (also) dispel any misconceptions these people may have, and shed a different light on the military."
The positive reactions from the crowds indicated that the band did just that. During the flag ceremony, the Disney visitors began to sing aloud as the band played "America the Beautiful," and each performance was met with anxious spectators jockeying for a bird's eye view to hear and see the Army's best.
The band did not disappoint according to Pam Shutjer, who attended the flag retreat ceremony. Shutjer, a native of West Plains, Mo., was visiting Disneyland on Monday while en route to meeting her son in San Diego.
Her son happens to be an active duty MP (military policeman) stationed at Fort Huachuca, so when Shutjer saw signs advertising the post's band, she couldn't believe the coincidence and "just had to" stay for the show.
"(The band) put so much more meaning to the ceremony," the proud Army mom said. "They were absolutely fantastic."
First Sgt. Robert Stagg, 36th Army Band, explained that providing experiences such as Shutjer's, is "why we exist."
As the only Army band available in the southwest, the 36th tours the entire southwest corner of the United States. Although the many miles touring can be strenuous, the Soldiers in the band know the sacrifice is necessary to fulfill the band's mission of community relations.
"In this part of the country, people don't see the active Army as much," Stagg said.
"The band functions to spread the Army's message and promote patriotism throughout."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16