Wiregrass residents have the opportunity to get a taste of some of Fort Rucker's musically-talented individuals in an upcoming concert series by the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band.

The band kicks off its "Music in the Wiregrass" concert series April 30 with a show at Cullpepper Park in Daleville beginning at 6 p.m., said Spc. Tim Stuart, 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band public affairs officer and saxophonist.

"It's going to give those in the area a chance to see what else Fort Rucker has to offer the local communities," Stuart said. "We put on a good performance and we want people to have a good time."

According to Stuart, the concert takes place following a softball game and will have an "evening under the stars" feel.

"It's our way of saying 'thank you' to the community for supporting Fort Rucker and the military," he said. "It's just going to be a nice, down-home Saturday night with good music."

The concert series isn't just for the communities; it is also a way for the band to prepare for the upcoming Freedom Fest at Fort Rucker in July, said CW4 Jesse O. Pascua, 98th Army Band commander.

"We've adapted the concept to reach out to the communities surrounding Fort Rucker," he said. "We'll be reaching a different community each month leading up to our performance at Freedom Fest 2011."

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Emanuelson, 98th Army Band trumpet player, said the performance schedule is much different from what the band was used to in years past.

"We haven't really kicked off concert band rehearsals until May or June in the past few years," he said. "That would only be a couple of months away from the Freedom Fest show. We're also usually split into four or five different groups with each playing at different venues on- and off-post. Since this concert is at the end of April, we started practicing as a whole band last month."

Emanuelson added the band has two full-band practices each week, but the individual sections practice together throughout the week as well. Many of the band members spend several hours each week practicing on their own, too.

"We're probably averaging a combined 15 to 20 hours of practice a week," he said. "Most of us practice on our own time, too. That puts some at around 30 to 40 hours a week."

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