By Brigitte O'Preska, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs OfficeNovember 9, 2007
BERLIN, Germany Nov. 8, 2007 -- The organizer of the annual Berlin Military Music Festival, Klaus Goerk, welcomed the commander of the 76th Army Band, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daryl B. Vail, at the traditional bandmaster meeting at Julius-Leber-Kaserne here Oct. 31 with the statement that he was "very pleased to see his house band again after an absence of two years."
With the exception of their two deployment rotations, the 76th had been a regular participant at the marching show event since 1998. The excitement of their return to Berlin was visible on the musicians' faces as entered Max-Schmeling-Halle for rehearsals with 700 fellow musicians from nine other countries. The band ultimately performed three shows before a total audience of 25,000, alongside 700 fellow military musicians from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Uzbekistan, Belarus, India, Mongolia and Germany.
A team led by Col. Dr. Michael Schramm, chief of the German Armed Forces Military Music Department and musical director and conductor for the large-scale event, directed and guided the bands; taped positions for the mass band finale; timed individual marching shows, and answered musical, choreographic and technical questions. After only a half-day of rehearsals, musicians who never played together, were ready to perform Wagner's "Meistersinger of Nuernberg" and Verdi's "Prisoners' Chorus" during the show's mass band finale.
The 76th put its talents to the test during a public dress rehearsal on Friday before entertaining the crowds Saturday and Sunday. Performing all-time favorites of the big band and swing era, the Mannheim, Germany-based band took the audience back to the '30s and '40s and was rewarded with roaring applause.
High-ranking visitors on Saturday evening included Gen. Wolfgang Schneiderhan, chief of staff of the German Armed Forces, representing the German Minister of Defense, as well as representatives of the political, diplomatic, military and cultural sector.
Emphasizing the event's motto, "Bringing people together through the international language of music," Schneiderhan welcomed the international guests and wished them interesting encounters, inspiring conversations and the spirit of camaraderie with fellow Soldiers.
The 76th Army Band did just that. During an impromptu jam session after the last show, band members, together with the band from the United Kingdom, performed for participants and behind-the-scenes helpers during a social get-together.