FORT JACKSON, SC -- Fort Jackson's 282nd Army Band is getting ready to celebrate the Army's 235th Birthday in style, and everyone's invited. The band will perform a free concert 7 p.m., Monday at First Baptist Church in Columbia.

"We've been rehearsing for about the last three weeks, but the preparations began back in January," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Scott MacDonald, commander and conductor of the 282nd. "To plan any type of event this big takes a tremendous amount of coordination."

The two-hour concert will tell the Army's story and will include modern technology to accentuate the point.

"We'll have some multimedia, some videos that show the Army in action, that show the history of the Army. That goes along with the music that we're playing," MacDonald said. "So, it's not just a concert that you might go to see..., but this is a little bit more interactive for the audience, as well."
MacDonald said band members have been producing the videos themselves.

"Hopefully, there are a lot of scenes that, when you see them on the screen, the music enhances the experience at the same time," he said.
One of the highlights of the concerts will be a musical streamer ceremony.

"We're going to have the stripped down Army flag, and we're going to discuss through music all of the different engagements the Army has participated in during its 235 years," MacDonald said. "Each of those conflicts has a set of streamers that go with it, and those will be hung back on the Army flag."

MacDonald said that in addition to telling the Army's story, he hopes the concert will showcase the band's multifaceted capabilities to those who may only be familiar with traditional military marching bands.

"That's the tip of the iceberg for what we do on a daily basis. We do a wide variety of music," he said. "I think folks are going to be very surprised at what they see. There are going to be some things that maybe they didn't know about the Army. There might be some things that they didn't realize that an Army band can play."

The band performs about 100 concerts annually at community events throughout the area.

"The band is an integral part of Fort Jackson's community relations program," said Kara Motosicky, Fort Jackson's community relations chief. "Always professional, (the musicians) leave lasting positive impressions of the Army and Fort Jackson in communities around the region.
"... They use their skills as professional musicians and Soldiers to entertain and educate by marching in parades, performing concerts, supporting civil ceremonies and operating music skills clinics at local schools - all in addition to their on-post missions."

MacDonald said that the big concerts, like the one on Monday, are some of his favorites because they allow for interaction with the crowd.

"When we have a sizeable crowd for any event, the band always plays better and we feed off of each other," MacDonald explained. "A crowd can feel the music and be part of it, and we feed off of that enthusiasm."

He said he hopes to attract a large crowd for the birthday concert, enough to fill the venue to capacity.

"We want to pack the place, that's the whole idea," MacDonald said.