Often referred to as “one of the best in the Army Reserve", the 451st Army Band of Fort Snelling, Minnesota is unique among Army bands. The organization humbly began in 1948 as the 330th Army Band, primarily composed of bandsmen from the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas. In the summer of 1949 during their annual training at then-Camp McCoy Wisconsin, General Hanford MacNider of the 103rd Infantry Division was so impressed with their musicianship that he made them his own band. It remained the 103rd Infantry Division Band until 1961, when it was decommissioned and became the current 451st Army Band.

In the early days, the unit played concert tours in cities and towns all across the Midwest. The band’s growing reputation of superb quality and excellence would take them much further. In 1982, the 451st became the very first reserve band to replace the band at West Point Academy in New York, changing the perception of what a reserve unit was capable of. Since then, the band has seen a considerable amount of travel to play missions in Anchorage and Fairbanks, AK; Chicago; Las Vegas; Heidelberg, Germany; Rome, Italy in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Italy; and the 100th Anniversary of the Army Reserve in Washington, D.C., among many others. Perhaps their most prestigious mission to date was when they were called upon to represent the 90th Infantry Division at the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France in 1994. The 451st was one of thirty-four U.S. Army Bands asked to participate, but they were the only reserve unit present for the ceremonies.

Throughout their 60 year history, the 451st Army Band has also hosted various small ensembles, allowing them to reach more communities with their musical mission. Ensembles over the years have included a chorus, a barbershop quartet, a polka band, a jazz band, a marching band, a ceremonial brass and percussion group, a stage band, brass and woodwind ensembles, and a rock band.

To this day, the 451st Army Band continues to be a beacon of hope, its citizen soldiers instilling a profound sense of patriotism in the communities in which they serve, and always bringing home their mission, so deeply infused in each and every note they play: to educate, to entertain, and to inspire.

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