By Spc. Benjamin GarnettJanuary 12, 2011
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky's top lawmakers rang in the new year with the 100th Army Reserve Band during the second annual performance of patriotic songs on Jan. 4.
Chief Warrant Officer Larry Barton led the Army Reserve band for the 2011 opening session of the Kentucky State Senate at the state Capitol here.
Based at nearby Fort Knox, Ky., the 100th Army Reserve Band is one of three bands assigned to the 81st Regional Support Command. They performed the national anthem and "My Old Kentucky Home," the state song of the Commonwealth.
One local business owner welcomed the citizen warriors and said she hopes to make the musical event a tradition.
"Having a military band present for the session is a great way to start the year," said Lizz Taylor, owner of a local Frankfort bookstore. "The band's musical selections did a good job of connecting the Senators to the people they serve."
Master Sgt. Sally Jewell, one of the newest Wildcat band members, said the state Senate performance drives home the level of dedication for which the Army Reserve constantly strives.
"Playing for the Senate's opening session was an inspiring mission for all of us," she said. "I'm proud to be a part of this highly professional group of Soldier-musicians."
The band is no stranger to the communities of Kentucky and the six surrounding states.
During the past year, the 40-member band performed at local festivals, several holiday parades, high school and collegiate music events, the Kentucky Derby, an NCAA basketball game, and recruiting appearances at both the Kentucky Music Educators Conference in Louisville, Ky., and the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Ill.
"It's been great to see how much support the community has shown to the military, and it's just as great to be able to give something back by performing for them," said Sgt. Jason Travis, the band's trumpet section leader.
Although the extra performances may sometimes take Soldiers away from their day-to-day lives for longer than expected, they consider the rewards that come from their service to be well worth the time sacrificed, said 1st. Sgt. Matt Labarbara, the band's senior enlisted Soldier.
Spc. Chris Van Dyke, a guitar player with the band, said he believes the 100th Army Reserve Band takes the idea of a military musician to the next level.
"We have members dedicated to reaching out to the surrounding communities of our region," he said.
Van Dyke said the band takes great pride in what they do, and they all thoroughly enjoy their dual role as musicians and front-line ambassadors for the Army Reserve.
"When we march down a parade route, play a ceremony, or perform a rock concert, we aren't only representing the United States Army; we represent a family member of many of those spectators," he said. "Nothing feels better than to represent those people in the best way we know how."
As the 81st Infantry Division 1917's motto, "Wildcats Never Quit," forged warriors in the Pacific, today's Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 100th press forward with a busy schedule for 2011 - providing entertainment to communities across the Midwest.