By Julia LeDoux, Pentagram Staff WriterAugust 20, 2015
WASHINGTON - Thousands gathered on the lawn adjacent to the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington, Aug. 15, to enjoy The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" annual performance of "1812 Overture."
"There are all kinds of bands across the country that play, but none as disciplined as this," said WJLA-TV 7's Jonathan Elias, who served as a special announcer for the event.
A late summer tradition in Washington for more than three decades, the performance featured The U.S. Army Concert Band, Chorus, Herald Trumpets, and soloists from The U.S. Army Band Voices.
"It's an opportunity to bring together all of the best stuff we have, put it all on one stage, for the biggest crowd of the summer and show off a little bit on behalf of the Army and the musicians of 'Pershing's Own,'" said Master Sgt. David Brown, a tuba player in the U.S. Army Concert Band.
Looking out over the sea of people who were seated on the lawn for the concert, Brown reflected on what he hopes they took away from the event.
"I hope that it renews their appreciation for the Army, for the Army's story and what we mean to the nation," he said. "I hope it gives them an idea of the excellence that is the United States Army and just connects people. Music connects in a way that nothing else can."
The concert began with a performance of "Architect of Victory," written by retired Master Sgt. James Hosay, a former member of "Pershing's Own." The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets were showcased in performances of "High Adventure" and were joined by vocalist Sgt. 1st Class Holly C. Shockey in "Don't Rain on my Parade."
That was followed by a rendition of composer John Williams' "The Patriot" and "Liberty for All" by James A. Beckel Jr. The band then moved on to "Fantastic Polka" and a rendition of "Ol' Man River" by vocalist Master Sgt. Alvy R. Powell. Then came a salute to Irving Berlin and a salute to the nation's armed forces.
The event concluded with a rousing performance of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," which was written to commemorate the Russian defeat of Napoleon's Grand Armee. To the delight of the crowds, The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Presidential Salute Battery lent its support to the musical score, firing four 5.775-pound World War II era anti-tank guns, which fired a total of 29 shots, including the final volley from all four cannons.