By Jim DresbachApril 26, 2012
The opening night endorsements for this year's Twilight Tattoo season are in. If an out-of-state visitor or a National Capital Region resident is searching for patriotic entertainment on a Wednesday night this spring or summer, venture to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall for an evening of entertainment.
Two Central Georgia school groups jammed the center bleachers to enjoy the 2012 Twilight Tattoo premiere. Students, teachers and chaperones from Dames Ferry and Wells elementary schools in Gray, Georgia, made stops April 25 at the Smithsonian museums, the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. However, the hour-long Army tattoo on Summerall Field captivated and dazzled the visitors from the Peach State community of 2,000 residents.
"This was the best thing I've seen in Washington so far," said fifth grade student Christian Jones of her tattoo experience.
The Twilight Tattoo was recommended to the two school groups by a Macon-area travel agent, and after booking the trips, the Dawes Ferry kids went to work and learned about the evolution and the history of the tattoo.
"When we told them we were going to a Twilight Tattoo, they were excited that we were going to a military base, and then we did a little research of the origin of the name [tattoo] and what to expect. For the majority of the students and the adults, it is the first time they've been to Washington, D.C. We have about 50 kids here -- a very diverse group of kids. We have about 30 adults, and many of the adults are music lovers."
Singers from the U.S. Army Band Downrange and the U.S. Army Blues band did not disappoint the music lovers. While many adults expected the patriotic tunes, many were pleasantly surprised that Downrange and the Army Blues provided a bit of funk and rock and roll before and during the pageantry. "It was amazing and touching. We were very proud to be a part of it," said Dawes teacher Heather Jackson. "The music was fun at the beginning; we weren't expecting [the popular music]."
Also performing extended performances in the Fort Myer tattoo were The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the U.S. Army Drill Team. In the tattoo line-up were The Old Guard Caisson Platoon, the Commander-in-Chief Guard and the Continental Color Guard. Part of the grand finale included a modern music/patriotic mixed solo by Downrange lead guitarist Staff Sgt. Chad Leader.
The tattoos were relocated to JBM-HH for this year's spring and summer schedule, which has also been expanded to 18 dates. The full schedule is below.
After the hour-long show, the children and parents from the deep south met and mingled with the night's performers.
"This is better than the museums and the Lincoln Memorial put together," said Jones.