In the autumn of 1983 the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) decided to form a band to perform for ceremonial occasions. Later that year a band of fifteen volunteers was organized under Major Mike Sheehan of the United Kingdom Army. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations generously donated instruments, sheet music and funds for the band’s initial needs. By the end of 1984 the band had performed over thirty shows and numbered over thirty military and civilian volunteers.

In 1985, the SACEUR officially declared the SHAPE International Band as the official musical representative of NATO and SHAPE. By then the band consisted of a full-time Bandmaster, twelve professional U.S. Army musicians and twenty-two military and civilian volunteers.

Today the SHAPE International Band is composed of twelve professional military musicians from the United States. They represent SHAPE and NATO and have thrilled audiences throughout Europe by performing at such events as the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals. The band features four primary performing groups: the "NATO Jazz Orchestra," two popular music ensembles "TaskForce X" and "Gruntz," as well as the jazz group, "NATO Impulse."

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