JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. - The Army often brings a picture of infantry or artillery to the imagination.
The TRADOC Band is striving to broaden how people think of the Army through music education. In March, they participated in the Music in our Schools program, which not only entertained students, but also provided them insights into other jobs the Army has to offer.
“For the children to see someone wearing the uniform and realize we aren’t just an infantry, that we do other things, is really rewarding for me,” said Sgt. James Coburn, TRADOC’s Brass Band trombone player.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the TRADOC Band, which usually travels to local schools performing and talking to the students during MIOS month, moved their efforts to online this year.
MIOS is led by the National Association for Music Education. Music educators and students throughout the United States and overseas demonstrate throughout the month the powerful role a quality music program plays in the lives of young people.
For the past 30 years, the U.S. Army has participated in MIOS as a way to talk to students in their local areas about the Army and the Army Band. This year’s virtual event involved the band pre-recording their performances. These performances were sent to the schools and played for the students while the band members joined the conversation live, although it’s virtually. The students then were able to ask questions about the military or the band.
“Nine times out of 10 they don’t know there are military bands,” Coburn said. “I didn’t know there was an Army band until they came to my high school to perform.”
Many of the band members were originally music educators, with music degrees.
“[MIOS] gives us the opportunity to teach the students about different instruments, since [school] band directors are not specialists in each instrument,” said Sgt. Bradley Smith, TRADOC’s Brass Band percussionist. “We are able to help facilitate some of that education.”
During the virtual sessions with the schools, students have the opportunity to not only ask questions about the band member’s instruments but also their careers as Army Soldiers.
“Speaking to students gives us the ability to inform them there is an option to be a part of a military band,” said Spc. Kurtis Polishinski, TRADOC’s Brass Band sousaphone and tuba player.
The Army Band is a military occupational specialty, known as “42-Romeo” or “42-Sierra.” They have their own process to become a member.
The TRADOC Band performances bring knowledge and uplifts the spirit of everyone around them, whether it is by participating in MIOS to help bring a different perspective of the Army to children through education or by performing for Soldiers who are deployed overseas.
For more information about how to become a part of the Army band visit https://www.bands.army.mil/ or visit goarmy.com.
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