By Skip Vaughn, USAG RedstoneJanuary 25, 2010
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The sound of construction near Gate 10 will give way to the tunes of an Army band by next year.
The Army Materiel Command Band is moving to Redstone Arsenal from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., as part of base realignment and closure. The move is planned from this November through March 2011.
Community members attended a groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 12 for the 40-member bandAca,!a,,cs new facility on Patton Road just north of Heiser Hall. Construction of the 16,082-square-foot building is expected to be completed by January. The contract was awarded to Dyson Construction Company from Decatur for $4.383 million.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs really a pleasure to see this vision come to fruition,Aca,!A? said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Fred Ellwein, the band commander since Feb. 27, 2007.
The 389th Army Band includes 39 enlisted and one warrant officer. Together they perform as a concert band or marching band, depending on the occasion. Their smaller elements include a brass quintet, woodwind quintet, jazz combo, rock band, and a ceremonial band of 18 performers.
Aca,!A"ThereAca,!a,,cs a current force design update for Army bands that will likely increase the size of the AMC Band,Aca,!A? Ellwein said. Aca,!A"ThatAca,!a,,cs to be determined. It will likely be (year) 2015 is my understanding at this point.Aca,!A?
He wonAca,!a,,ct be part of the move from Aberdeen because of his change of command there in May. Ellwein, originally from Sioux Falls, S.D., will report in June to the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps in Washington, D.C.
His successor, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Pete Gillies, is already at Redstone. The Oxford, Mass., native arrived in August from Camp Zama in Tokyo, Japan.
Aca,!A"People in Huntsville are really eager to have an Army band here in town,Aca,!A? Gillies said. Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cve been welcomed with open hearts by the musical community here in Huntsville.Aca,!A?
Gillies, 47, and his wife, Jo Myers, have a son, Tyler, 16, who is a junior at Sparkman High.
The band facility will include a large rehearsal room, individual practice rooms, music library, instrument storage, repair and cleaning, uniform locker rooms and band administration offices.
Aca,!A"This facility means a lot to not only the AMC Band but to Army bands as a whole,Aca,!A? Ellwein said.
Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli said last weekAca,!a,,cs ceremony marks the last groundbreaking for Redstone ArsenalAca,!a,,cs BRAC construction projects.
Aca,!A"We are about making sure the customer is taken care of,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"And we do it on time.Aca,!A?
Ronnie Chronister, deputy commander of the Aviation and Missile Command, officiated at the ceremony which included music by the AMC brass quintet, also known as Aca,!A"All BrassAca,!A| No Ammo.Aca,!A? He joined 10 other dignitaries in the ceremonial shoveling of dirt.
Aca,!A"This is a great day again for Team Redstone,Aca,!A? Chronister said. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs more evidence that BRAC is moving forward. ItAca,!a,,cs another milestone.Aca,!A?
The bandAca,!a,,cs arrival will also mark a musical revival of sorts for Redstone Arsenal, which served as the home of the 55th Army Band from 1959-75.
A formal concert, free and open to the public, of the AMC Band is scheduled March 21 at 2 p.m. at Huntsville High.