By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (Benning)March 30, 2018
PHENIX CITY, Ala. (March 30, 2018) -- The U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Band from Fort Benning, Georgia, held their final performance as part of "Music in Our Schools Month" March 30 at Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama.
The band has performed at 28 elementary, middle and high schools throughout communities of Columbus, Georgia, Phenix City, and Fort Benning.
The band played music ranging from traditional ballads like "Scarborough Fair" to contemporary hits like "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark" by Fallout Boy. They also played traditional military music like "The Liberty Bell" by John Philip Sousa and feature film score music like the closing credit music from The Incredibles by Michael Giacchino.
"I saw a lot of smiles and a lot of foot-tapping, so I feel they received it well," said Spc. Elizabeth Kennedy, flautist, following a performance at Hardaway High School in Columbus, Georgia, March 20.
Though the group played for general assemblies, they also played for classes of music students. The Soldier instrumentalists talked with the students, answered questions about careers in music, and about their own personal career and life paths.
"As each Soldier talked about their personal story, you could tell on the kids' faces how interested they were," said Staff Sgt. Paige Washburn, clarinetist who performed with the woodwind ensemble.
"The students seem to be intuitive, attentive," said Spc. Diana Ladolcetta, flautist with the band. "They asked all the right questions, and many of the students seemed genuinely interested in what we do."
"Being able to let them see and experience the feeling of live music is something different," said Capt. Aaron Morris, the MCoE Band commander, of the difference between playing live and playing recorded performances. "So as much as the students may be aware -- because they're music students -- of the types of careers that are out there, they might not even have the opportunity or exposure to live music to help them aspire to those types of paths."
The monthlong program is part of the Partners in Education program, which pairs U.S. Army units from Fort Benning with schools in the Chattahoochee Valley area to improve educational opportunities for students. Hornist Sgt. Bradley Dallman believed it important for the MCoE Band, and more broadly Fort Benning, to engage with schools and the community off post.
"We've always been part of the community, and Partners in Education is one way for us to help the community and make sure that it's growing strongly," he said. "This is our home."
The band performs more than 500 times a year as several different ensembles, including woodwind and brass quintets; ceremonial, concert, rock and stage bands; and a jazz combo. As part of the month's event, the band's rock band, brass band and woodwind ensembles played in the schools.
To learn more about the band, visit the "MCoE Band" in the "Related Links section on this page.