Concert gives a slice of history

By Erin Murray
Army Flier Staff Writer

News story photo
Saxophonists for the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band rehearse for the free holiday concert scheduled for Dec. 13 at the post theater at 6:30 p.m.
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 1, 2011) -- Community members will hear a winter wonderland of music during this holiday season at the commanding general's annual holiday concert provided by the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band Dec. 13.

The free concert will be at the post theater at 6:30 p.m., and promises a "smorgasbord of Christmas favorites" along with other holiday favorites across many genres and generations, said Spc. Tim Stuart, alto saxophonist for the band.

Stuart said that there will be traditional performances from the concert band as well as the rock band, Crossfire, and a newly-revived big band.

"We haven't had a big band in a long time. For the holiday concert, we could finally put together a group especially for that sound. It's not just your typical concert. It will be a really crowd-interactive experience. There are a lot of things you might not expect to see from an Army band."

"There are things for children and adults of all ages, like people who lived through the big band era. We're trying to provide a slice of history from each different portion of what the band has done throughout history," he said.

Those who can't make it to the Dec. 13 performance have a chance to catch the Army band the week before at its Dec. 8 performance at Flowers Center in Ozark. Staff Sgt. Matt Shuck, guitarist and vocalist for the rock band, explained that the Ozark performance will have more jazz and rock performances than the Fort Rucker performance.

The new focus on rock and jazz is welcomed by the Army band thanks to many talented newcomers, he said.

"We have a lot of new players coming in that were professional jazz musicians before. We have a lot of people with expertise who congregate here, so they decided to put the big band together," Stuart said.

"We have a brand new singer, Staff Sgt. Mario Edwards, who just came to us. He has a great voice -- kind of a rhythm and blues or soul sound. He gives us a new tool to utilize in our show," said Shuck.

Stuart and Shuck explained that the band has been planning for the holiday season since October, and rehearsals have gone well. Along with the Fort Rucker concert, which is one of its biggest annual missions, the band has been preparing for many parades and events around the Southeast.

"We're right on schedule with how things should be progressing. We still have a couple of weeks to refine it even more and make it more amazing. For a lot of people, this is the only access they have to people in uniform, so we want to make it great for them. We try to make it a good show. We're going to have a lot of fun, and hopefully we'll bring that element of fun and holiday cheer to everyone," said Shuck.

For more information on Army band events, call 255-9202.

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