By U.S. ArmyMay 2, 2011
FORT McPHERSON, Ga. (May 2, 2011) - The Army Ground Forces Band and 53 of its alumni bid farewell to Atlanta with a reunion concert at McEachern High School Performing Arts Center, April 30.
This performance was the band's last public showcase in the Atlanta area before the band moves to Fort Bragg, N.C.
"We thought this would be an appropriate and patriotic way to pay tribute to the metro Atlanta community for the decades of support it has given to the U.S. Army," said Maj. Treg Ancelet, the band's commander and conductor. "Atlanta has been good to us, and we hope we've brought joy and pride in America to our fellow citizens here."
Featuring a joint performance by the concert and show bands, the concert offered a selection of music ranging from traditional songs to jazz and patriotic tunes, from "El Capitan" and "Concerto for Trumpet" to "Freedom's Guardian" and "America the Beautiful."
Several alumni members who did not perform but attended the concert spent time before and after the show and during the concert's intermission with each other taking photos and reminiscing about their time with the band.
"My father has been really excited about this concert for weeks," said Clayton Laird, son of alumni oboist Michael Laird. "When I was little I was only able to catch the tail end of my father's band career. Growing up he would always tell me stories from when he played in the band. To finally be able to see for myself what he was a part of is pretty awesome."
Don Wilmot, alumni trombone player, seemed to capture the sentiment of all fellow alumni who participated in the concert: "This weekend has been a great opportunity to reconnect with many old friends and to show these young whipper snappers we still have it."
"This was a wonderful event that the alumni initiated," noted Ancelet. "One of our veteran band members came up to me afterwards and expressed what we all were feeling: that it was like family, a brotherhood, a bond that spanned the generations because all the band members, old and new, share the unit heritage together."
The audience of several hundred seemed to enjoy the evening as well, bringing the combined band back for three encores.
The 64-member Army Ground Forces Band performs about 300 concerts a year at local, regional and national events. It also conducts master music classes and clinics at high schools and colleges around the country. The Soldiers assigned to the band have passed highly selective auditions and are among the finest musicians in the Army Band Program.
One of The Army Ground Forces Band's major missions is to serve as a community outreach asset on behalf of its parent unit, U.S. Army Forces Command, the Army's largest command.
The band and FORSCOM will move to Fort Bragg, N.C., this summer in compliance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure legislation.
For information about the U.S. Army Forces Command's Army Ground Forces Band, visit http://www.forscom.army.mil/band/.