KC Army Rock City :: Entertainment team drums up support, fans
February 12, 2013
By Brian Lepley
KANSAS CITY -- The first crunchy notes of "Barracuda," a 1977 hit for Heart, blast from the four-piece Army Recruiting Entertainment Team band. The licks inspire squeals of delight from the Grandview High School audience of teenagers who, along with half of the adults present, were not born when the song was released.
The golden oldie that still gets music fans pumped had two things in common at the Kansas City school last week from 36 years ago: a galloping guitar and female voice, that of Sgt. Corrin Campbell.
She is the featured performer on the ARET, blending her own songs, current hits, and classics to bring the Army Recruiting Command message to teens and their adult influencers in an hour-long concert that connects with listeners of all ages.
"That was a great reaction to that song," Campbell said of the teens' shrieks at "Barracuda." "We try to keep the set list a mix so everyone in the audience can enjoy the show. The kids have been receptive to all the music."
The ARET completed a two-week visit to the Kansas City Recruiting Company Saturday, wrapping up with shows at Grandview Jan. 31 and Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts Feb. 1. Current hits "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keyes and "We Are Young" by fun. got the teens chanting lyrics and dancing.
"It's great to have an Army asset like this band to appear in our high schools," said Capt. Lianna Crawford, commander of Kansas City Recruiting Company. "They entertain students and teachers, and they show that the Army has a diverse choice of jobs, showing that Soldiers don't just blow stuff up or patrol villages. Students and teachers see that there's a lot of opportunity in the Army."
Campbell was supported by three musicians from Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Division Band; drummer Sgt. Mike Brown, Sgt. Frank Esquer on guitar, and keyboardist Staff Sgt. Larry Weisel. The ARET consists of Campbell and Staff Sgt. John Folco, who handles the sound and manages the bookings, so finding sidemen is a challenge.
"I was at Fort Carson last year working with 4th ID band's vocalists and I was glad we could get these guys together for this tour," Campbell said.
It wasn't a lot of rehearsal time, especially since the band performed two of Campbell's songs ("Remember Me" and "Done With You"), but like any team of Soldiers with a mission, they adapted and executed professional shows.
CDs of Campbell's original music were handed out to the students, who got autographs and pictures taken with the ensemble after the shows.
"The enthusiasm was great for these shows and I think the recruiters here will realize strong, workable leads from our trip," Campbell said.
The team made two media appearances in Kansas City as well, with Campbell performing live on an FM radio station and on a morning TV news show. She also did one-on-one coaching with music students in Kansas City schools where the combo did not perform.
"Having this band here helps these recruiting centers do more than just have a table in the hallway. The kids enjoy it, the teachers enjoy it," said Kansas City Recruiting Company 1st Sgt. Jeremy Richmond. "The CG says "own the high schools." We've made a good impression today for the Army."
The ARET hopes to make bigger impressions with larger crowds this summer.
"We're looking at bigger venues for the group in order to reach larger audiences of prospects and influencers," Folco said. "We hope to be at Rock USA at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this summer and would like to get into some other festival gigs."