BREMEN, Germany--Popular American hand-clapping, toe-tapping tunes will once again entertain a multi-national audience as the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus perform at the Musikschau der Nationen (The Music show of Nations) in Bremen, Germany Jan. 27-29.
Thousands of participants from nations around the world such as Mexico, Vietnam and Russia come each year to the show, which is considered Europe's biggest brass band music festival. Sponsored by the German War Graves Commission, the international band tattoo helps celebrate military history and honor the military members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting and preserving freedom.
"Military tattoos are a tradition all over the world. Our participation not only links the U.S. to this tradition, but gives us the opportunity to make important connections with audiences and representatives of other nations when we participate in these shows," said Maj. Dwayne Milburn, commander of the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus. "Of all the tattoos and marching shows in which we participate, our history with Bremen represents the longest collaboration, with over 35 total years of support (not always consecutive). The organization's focus on public projects across Europe echoes similar values instilled in the American way of life."
That strong, time-honored relationship is highly valued by Isa Nolle, the tattoo's organizer and managing director of the German War Graves Commission. "We have built a special friendship with the American bands, especially with the U. S. Army Europe Band," she said. "They are an integral part of our story and provided us with many memorable moments, so we are looking forward to their performance this year."
The band's five performances over the three-day show salutes decades of American popular music featuring crowd favorites such as Sing, Sing, Sing (Benny Goodman), All Shook Up (Elvis Presley), Think (Aretha Franklin), In the Mood (Glenn Miller) and The Stars and Stripes Forever (John Philip Sousa).
The band will also perform along with all the participating nations' bands and dancers in a grand finale on the last day of the show.
That finale will be bitter-sweet for the band as Nolle announced this will be the final show after 53 years of performances.
"Naturally, we are all a bit emotional that this year will be the last show," she said. "But we will not be sad--rather we will celebrate the success and enjoy the special atmosphere the show always had. We will strive to organize charity concerts with military bands that we have developed special relationships with to keep the legacy going in the years to come."
When he learned this would be the last of the Bremen shows, Milburn knew that the band had to return to this venue.
"The relationship and friendship between the show organizers and the Band and Chorus is quite special; they can name more band commanders than I can," Milburn said. "More importantly, participation in this show us is something that also links decades of members of Army Europe's Band and Chorus to each other. I've already received many messages from former band members who are sorry to see the show come to an end telling me they know we'll end the show in style."
While this may be the finale for the Bremen Tattoo, Army Europe's Band and Chorus continues to tell the "Strong Europe" story through the international language of music. As the Army's premier musical ambassadors in Europe, the talented Soldiers perform more than 200 concerts, parades, fests, military ceremonies, balls and commemorations annually.
"Our focus is to provide support to the Soldier populations remaining in Germany, while also expanding our reach into other countries to help build allied and partner relationships and promote the nation's interests throughout the Army Europe area of responsibility," said Milburn.
Since its activation in 1940, the Army Europe Band has appeared in more than 40 countries throughout Europe and Eurasia to include historic performances in Scotland and Red Square in Moscow, Russia.
About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.