The Volunteers entertain America’s youngest students

By Sgt. 1st Class James Wood
The United States Army Field Band

News story photo
Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Rob McIver
Sgt. Maj. Kirk Kadish demonstrates his perfect push-up form for a student at St. Mary of the Mills Elementary School, March 21.
LAUREL, Md. – The Volunteers, the rock/pop band of The United States Army Field Band, performed for approximately 150 elementary school students on Thursday, March 21.

As part of The United States Army Field Band’s educational outreach mission, The Volunteers took an acoustic version of their show to St. Mary of the Mills Elementary School in Laurel. Students were entertained by their versions of popular kids tunes, from “Wheels on the Bus” to the “Hokey Pokey.” The Soldiers performed on a variety of instruments, such as acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass guitar, violin, and melodica. Songs were arranged with an Irish feel in recognition of St. Patrick’s Day.

The students were encouraged to participate in the performance by The Volunteers Element Leader, Sgt. 1st Class John Lamirande. Students and teachers were given small American flags to wave, and they joined in on several tunes with singing, clapping, and dancing.

St. Mary’s music teacher Joanna Chiarella said, “All students benefit from experiencing different forms of musical performance. With this visit to our school, our K–2nd grade students enjoyed an interactive, energetic performance designed specifically for their young age group.” Chiarella said the active engaging of students and the recognizable songs made the visit by Soldier-Musicians an extremely memorable experience for the kids. “They came away from the performance excited, feeling like they made new friends, and having developed an increased sense of patriotism and a new perspective of the military in our community.”

The Volunteers regularly bring rock and pop music to formal audiences and high school assemblies across the country on their national tours. Local outreach is also an important part of the mission for “The Musical Ambassadors of the Army.”

Lamirande said, "In the last few years, The Volunteers have traveled to Iraq, Kuwait, and all but eight of the fifty states. To be able to represent The Volunteers, The United States Army Field Band, and the Army right here in my own local community was huge. Based on the looks on the kid's faces, I think we demonstrated today that the Army is a profession of excellence."

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