FORT BENNNING, Ga. – Rolling Thunder, a rock band formed by musicians with the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band, is helping the community deal with the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
How? By livestreaming concerts on the MCoE Facebook page. The MCoE Facebook page has streamed two 30-minute concerts. The first was May 5 and the second was May 19. The concerts are available to view at www.facebook.com/FortBenningMCoE/. The band plans three more concerts: one to air June 12 recognizing the Army birthday, July 2 celebrating Independence Day and the third in mid-July featuring the brass band.
During this pandemic, there’s a lot of uncertainty, said Capt. Aaron Morris, band commander.
“Our hope is to leverage social media to find ways to connect in this time of isolation and quarantine,” Morris said. “We’re all in our homes following the guidance of our officials on how we should respond to the COVID crisis. We hope to use social media to connect with and support the community.”
The theme of the first concert, When America’s Beautiful, is appropriate, Morris said.
“(The song, That’s When America is Beautiful,) talks about how Americans come together to support each other during difficult times,” the Finksburg, Maryland, native said. “We feel that’s how we are going to bridge this current challenge – we support each other, we’re there to pick each other up and that’s the message we want to share – that is when America is beautiful.”
Sgt. Andre Badeaux, a guitarist and vocalist, has played in both the first two concerts.
“Music is a healing balm,” said Badeaux, who started playing the guitar as a 10-year-old growing up in Thibodaux, Louisiana. “It’s a communication that knows no bounds ... a powerful medium.
“I think it’s important to realize it’s not the easiest of times for a lot of people, but it’s going to get better. We’re going to get through this. … We will prevail over COVID-19.”
The first concert reached more than 77,500 and featured songs by the Jonas Brothers, Carlos Santana and Lee Greenwood.
Kim Whitsel, who commented on Facebook, wrote, “Do this more often. This is uplifting during (these) unprecedented times.”
And Peter Joseph Szostak, who watched the second concert from Martin Army Community Hospital, wrote, “This is what helps build morale!”
Which is the reason for the concerts, said vocalist Staff Sgt. Richard Scarlett.