By New York Guard Warrant Officer Ubon MendieAugust 3, 2011
BROOKLYN, N.Y.--Sweat drips from the brow of New York Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Mark Kimes as he motions with his baton, directing the 42nd Infantry Division Band through a rendition of “Army Strong. “
The euphonium, trumpet and trombone sound off on command before they are politely ushered into the abyss by the woodwinds and timpani drum. The crowd savors the sounds until Kimes ushers the piece to a close, spurring applause that roars like a hero’s welcome, filling MCU Park, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclone's minor league baseball team in Coney Island.
“What a rush and great feeling,” trumpet player, Spc. Robert Contini said. “The opportunities we have had to play throughout this year’s tour are phenomenal. “
On August 5 members of the 42nd Infantry Division Band will close-out an eight stop concert tour across New York show casing their special skills.
The 34-member band performed at Lincoln Center in Manhattan; the ball park in Coney Island, Brooklyn; the racing circuit and spa town of Saratoga Springs; the lakeside village of Chautauqua, famous for lectures and musical performances; and the Adirondack mountain town of Lake George.
Other stops include Port Ewen and Patterson, New York in the Hudson Valley. For the Patterson performance the band will be joined by the band of the New York Guard, the all volunteer state defense force.
The bandsmen serve as an Army ceremonial band in the state of New York. Its mission is to support military ceremonies, parades, concerts and civic entertainment as needed in New York and abroad.
“Lincoln Center is New York’s music Mecca, said Kimes. It holds such a high caliber of notice, not only in the state, but the world. What better place could we showcase Army Strong?” he said.
Another high profile invitation was offered by the city of Chautauqua, which is world recognized for its musical culture.
“It’s a small city with strong roots in music,” Kimes said. “The city has its own opera house where some of the world’s best acts perform.”
A host of material is covered during each stop as a full unit, as well as smaller sub-groups called musical performance teams, or MPTs.
The entire band can form a concert band, or split into MPTs , such as a brass quintet, woodwind quintet, Latin band, jazz band and rock band giving each spectator a small taste of various genres of music.
Music performed ranges from classical pieces such as scores from the recent Harry Potter movies to big-band jazz and punk rock.
“I just love getting out into the communities,” said Sgt. Marcus Bowers, a tuba player. [Our tour is] a great way to connect to the people and enjoy music together while celebration our nation.”
“I could listen to this all night,” Air Force veteran Alvin Hirschberg said, as he cheered for the band in Coney Island. “For an hour I was able to forget all about the troubles of the world and just relax. The normal Brooklyn sounds were muffled by sweet music; I wish it didn’t have to end.”