FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- More than a thousand eager Soldiers-in-training got an early glimpse of home Sunday during the 282nd Army Band's annual Fort Jackson Holiday Concert.

The concert featured Christmas classics such as "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Sleigh Ride" and culminated with a visit by Santa Claus and sing-along to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training Soldiers will depart from Fort Jackson soon to travel home for the holidays during Block Leave.

"I am so excited about the holidays now," said Pvt. Reem Bushnaq, Fitness Training Company, 120th Adjutant General (Reception) Battalion. "The concert was so refreshing. I have been here for a long time now, and I am ready to go home for a break."

Many young Soldiers enjoyed the break from Christmas tradition for more spirited rock'n'roll selections such as "Father Christmas" by The Kinks, performed by the 282nd Rock Band. Sgt. Jeffery Groome brought a smile to the crowd with his rendition of "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch."
"The band did a great job," said Pfc. Chantal Hines, FTC, 120th Adjutant General (Reception) Battalion. "It really put us in the Christmas spirit."

Soldiers-in-training were not the only ones who got into the Christmas spirit. The concert was attended by retired Master Sgt. John Baker Jr., Medal of Honor recipient, and retired Brig. Gen. James Schwitters, former Fort Jackson commanding general.

"The band had a wide variety of music styles and played a little something for everyone. All the way from Basic Combat Training Soldiers to the commanding general," said Chief Warrant 5 Robert Nixon, Army Band Proponency Officer, Soldier Support Institute. "I enjoyed it a lot."

The 33-member band is led by Chief Warrant Officer W. Scott MacDonald, commander and conductor.

Maj. Gen. James Milano, Fort Jackson commanding general, wrapped up the evening by presenting former WISTV news anchor Joe Pinner with a plaque commemorating his 40th year emceeing the holiday concert.