By Heather Santos (The United States Army Field Band)June 30, 2009
FORT MEADE, Md. - Amazing!
That would be the signature word to best describe The Volunteers' performance at the Country USA festival Saturday afternoon.
Despite threatening weather, crowds came out by the thousands to attend the nation's largest country music festival in Oshkosh, Wis.
The Volunteers, a component of The United States Army Field Band, took the stage at 2:30 p.m. as part of a multimillion-dollar lineup of world-class entertainment that included heavy hitters in the music entertainment industry--acts such as Taylor Swift, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and Gretchen Wilson.
Master Sgt. Kirk Kadish, noncommissioned officer in charge and keyboardist for The Volunteers, commented on the band performing at such a mammoth event.
"These were two of the most exciting days of my life!" exclaimed Kadish.
"We hung out with Diamond Rio, Rodney Atkins and Dierks Bentley. I was really struck by how warm and friendly everyone was, from the festival-goers to the stagehands to the artists. No attitudes. Just nice, fun-loving folks who really appreciate what the military does and represents," he said.
Though The Volunteers do not consider themselves big music stars by any stretch, the admiration from some of the festival's headliners tells a different story.
"You [The Volunteers] were the buzz on the tour bus after your show. You guys are really good," members of Rodney Atkins' band shared with Sgt. 1st Class John Lake.
Lake is the noncommissioned officer responsible for booking The Volunteers at venues all over America, and he was on-site throughout the festival as he spearheaded the logistics associated with The Volunteers' performance at Country USA.
Like a proud father, Lake was exuberant following the end of The Volunteers' hour-long set.
"I overheard so many great comments from the audience," he said.
"Some of the security guards expressed how awesome the band was and how they [The Volunteers] should be opening for the featured bands."
Lake beamed as he continued, "The band was treated like rock stars!"
After all, for 28 years The Volunteers has been telling the Army story through music with performances that are intensely delivered and reinforced by an unequivocal amount of pride in what they do.
And, what The Volunteers give to the fans is unique--a blend of tunes from different styles, varying genres and multiple generations.
They continue to inspire patriotism to this day as they travel throughout the nation.
How befitting that they perform at this venue, as fans of country music are well known for embodying the American spirit.
Kadish acknowledged, "We couldnAca,!a,,ct walk 50 feet without someone stopping us to thank us for our service, get a photo with us and just visit for a while. Truly incredible. We were so proud and honored to perform for such loyal, devoted and good-hearted Americans."
Adding to the patriotic festivities at Country Music USA was a mass swearing-in ceremony.
Immediately following the band's performance, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips, the deputy chief of Army public affairs, came up to the stage to enlist more than 100 future servicemembers--Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.
The crowd roared as these new armed forces enlistees completed their oaths of service.
"It was an amazing event," added Lake, "and The Volunteers brought the house down!"
Kadish said that The Volunteers were seeking additional opportunities similar to Country USA, events where they "have the honor to share the stage with some of country and rock music's biggest stars."
Kadish continued, "Our style of music fits right in with whatAca,!a,,cs going on at these festivals, and this could be the start of something really big."
Lake went on to say that The Volunteers has already been invited back to next year's festival, and he said that they are "looking forward to, once again, rocking the nation at Country USA!"
About The Volunteers
Master Sgt. Kirk Kadish--Keyboards
Sgt. 1st Class Pete Krasulski--Bass
Sgt. 1st Class April Boucher--Vocals
Staff Sgt. Gerald Myles--Drums
Staff Sgt. Tom Lindsey--Guitar
Staff Sgt. Randy Wight--Vocals and Keyboards
Visit www.armyfieldband.com/pages/listening/downloads.html#VOL to hear and download music by The Volunteers.