By KATIE DAVIS SKELLEYAugust 6, 2013
Not even the threat of inclement weather dampened the spirit of the crowd that showed up for the Army Materiel Command Band's Concert in the Park on July 22.
The AMC Band was originally slated to perform at Big Spring Park as part of Armed Forces Celebration Week, but the decision was made earlier in the day to move the show inside the Von Braun Center's South Hall due to a heavy chance of rain. Alabama's unpredictable weather struck again and the skies remained clear, but the room filled to capacity with concertgoers excited to hear the band perform.
The show started with a moving performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" by Spc. Michelle Dykes. WHNT News 19 anchor Steve Johnson served as the master of ceremonies. The First Patriot Support Corps, made up of local youth dressed in historical military uniforms, interacted with the crowd.
"We are here to show the history," First Patriot Support Corps member Matt Hammond said. "Some of the attendees here wore these uniforms. It is cool when they share their stories."
During the intermission, several presentations were made. Association of the U.S. Army president Kris McBride made a presentation to the band, thanking them for their service. Army Materiel Command commander Gen. Dennis Via took the podium to welcome the audience and thank the AMC Band for their outstanding performance every day. Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle presented Via with a Community Covenant recognizing the bond between Redstone Arsenal and the community.
After intermission, the full concert band, led by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jesse Pascua, took the stage. Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Packard, who also serves as music team leader, set down his trumpet for the evening and assumed the role of announcer for the band.
The band showed its versatility, playing popular hits such as "Saturday in the Park" by Chicago, "Music from the Incredibles" for the youngsters in the crowd, and several patriotic selections befitting the occasion. Spc. Jordan Roberts performed the sousaphone solo on "In the Hall of the Mountain King," and Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone performed the vocal solo for "Warrior Ethos."
Kristin Douglas brought her family and friends to the concert.
"It is a nice ambiance," Douglas said. "We are enjoying the show. It is a nice event to bring the kids out to."
Said Packard, "It was an honor for us to perform for the citizens of Huntsville and greater Tennessee Valley area -- especially for our veterans, past and present and their family members. They are the reason we are all here and live a full life with freedom and democracy."