Faces From the Front for October 25, 2010 - Staff Sgt. Randy Wight
Current Unit: U.S. Army Field Band
Current Position: Lead Vocalist and Keyboardist
Current Location: Ft. Meade, Md.
Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.
Years of Service: 6
Six years ago, Staff Sgt. Randy Wight opened the newspaper and it changed his life forever. An advertisement in the paper led Wight to an Army career in which he uses his musical talent to boost the spirits of U.S. troops around the world.
“An ad appeared in the Syracuse New Times reading ‘Lead vocalist wanted for premier touring Army rock band,’” Wight said. “It jumped off the page, and I jumped on the phone.”
Today, Wight serves as the lead male vocalist and keyboardist for The U.S. Army Field Band ensemble, The Volunteers. Formed in 1981, the six-piece band takes popular music and blends it in a show that appeals to all ages. Most importantly, for deployed Soldiers, the ensemble boosts morale and offers a little piece of home. For Wight, joy comes not only from entertaining his fellow Americans, but also from the satisfaction that he is keeping up a family tradition.
“I joined the Army to serve my country using my gift of music and to carry on a family tradition established by my great grandfather who was a fellow Army musician,” Wight said. “Growing up I had always known about his service as a musician in uniform and those early seeds of patriotism came to blossom, I now share in his legacy.”
The Volunteers have played in venues around the world ranging from sold out stadiums to hospital bedsides. Most recently, the band spent a two-week deployment traveling through Kuwait and Iraq to perform for their fellow Soldiers.
While the tour was hectic in terms of the band’s almost daily movements from location to location, Wight enjoyed being out on the frontlines and knew that The Volunteer’s performances really made a difference for their fellow Soldiers.
“It’s hard to describe the thrill of sharing a slice of life with the ones doing the heavy lifting,” Wight said. “A troop came up to me and said, ‘when it comes to entertainment, we are often forgotten out here in Al Asad.’ I found it rewarding to perform an unplugged, strolling acoustic gig for one of their clinics and make them smile. I will say they certainly seem rejuvenated by our concerts.”
Wight spent his pre-Army years traveling as a troubadour, with the exception of a stint in Vegas, where he worked as a co-producer and writer for former Temptations’ lead vocalist Barrington ‘Bo’ Henderson’s original solo project. But for Wight, none of these experiences come close to his musical work with the U.S. Army.
“I’d take the honor and pride over the glitter and the lights any day of the week,” Wight exclaimed.
Along with satisfaction, Wight has found that the Army has challenged him in new ways and encouraged him to grow as a musician.
“We’ve all heard the expression ‘industry standard’,” Wight said. “Well, it was only when I became a part of this organization that I became aware of a higher one, the ‘Army Standard.’ Because of the tremendously talented individuals I am employed with, I can’t help but grow and thrive musically.”
Staff Sgt. Wight returned to the U.S. a few weeks ago, following the band’s tour in Iraq and Kuwait. Since his return, he has enjoyed taking his wife to visit their kids and grandkids in Boston and New York City.
The Volunteers will spend the fall touring the U.S., finishing their mixes for an upcoming CD, and preparing new material for a spring tour.