Army Band rehearses for Halloween-themed show

By Rhonda Apple, Pentagram Staff WriterOctober 25, 2011

Army Band rehearses for Halloween-themed show
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Army Band's contemporary vocal group Downrange will thrill audiences who love Halloween and popular music, with a free concert, "Deranged 2," Oct. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Brucker Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

"Downrange Deranged is one of the more high-entertainment value concerts we do here at The U.S. Army Band -- a full-on rock concert with costumes, sets, stage choreography, lighting and lots of fun for the audience," said Jen Maly, director of marketing and public affairs for TUSAB.

Those planning to attend the show can expect to hear Michael Jackson's "Thriller," "Edge of Glory," by Lady Gaga, and "Time Warp" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," as well as other popular tunes from the 80s, 90s and today.

"We've done a lot of planning and preparation for this," said Sgt. 1st Class Christal Rheams, Downrange vocalist and production head for the Deranged concert. "We start with the music committee planning the music through our group submitting song selections, and then we program it to ensure it fits the theme of the show and it all fits together, and then we put it into the production," she said.

The talented Soldiers of this popular music ensemble do their own arrangements of the songs. Other members of the group are in charge of lighting, costuming and choreography. Everyone in the group plays a part in the planning and pre-production.

"I just ensure everyone has everything they need to make the show successful," said Rheams. "This is one of the specialty shows we offer the public, and it's on a much grander scale."

The Deranged show has been performed in the past and will include some of the same material, however, there is more modern music this year, with some changes in costuming and music, Rheams said.

Vocalists portray characters through their music, said Sgt. Maj. Mercy Diaz, a vocalist and group leader of Downrange. "These characters really come to life in this production," she said. "This is more of an adult-themed version of a Halloween show -- edgier, rock music, not a little kid's Disney-type of show."

With the focus on a more adult-themed show, the concert is more age-appropriate for high school kids, said Maly. This doesn't mean any material in the concert is objectionable, however. It's just that the lighting, smoke machine and video clips might be too intense for younger audiences.

"We're taking the popular music of today and blowing it out of the water," said performer Master Sgt. Beverley Benda, who is in charge of props and costumes for the show. "It's going to be quite an event with the crazy lighting, video and sound -- total fun -- one of those shows where it's not just a concert, but an experience, with people running all over the stage and interacting with the audience," she said.

Staff Sgt. Martha Krabill, Downrange vocalist and one of the show's choreographers, works with a few local dance teachers and said, "they'll be here as backup dancers for some of the songs." Krabill said what she likes most about the Deranged concert is "all of the many elements to the show."

Those attending the concert can expect variety in the show, from a gothic aspect to the humorous, from multiple Elvises to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to Michael Jackson on stage, said Benda.

"Expect some gothic elements and some comedy and, all in all, a fun way to celebrate Halloween."