Will 2011 be “business as usual” for The U.S. Army Field Band?

By Jonathan Agee
United States Army Field Band

News story photo
Photo credit: MSG Robert McIver
Members of the Soldiers’ Chorus will perform Cosi Fan Tutti at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Feb. 8. This is just one example of the small-group performances that will be commonplace in 2011 for The United States Army Field Band.
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – What can you expect from The United States Army Field Band in 2011? Quite a lot, actually.

One of the most exciting is the Army Field Band’s new Web site, scheduled to be released later this year. This is not a revamp of the old site, but an entirely new site with compelling features designed to keep users coming back for more. For example, the site will be able to identify if a user is a jazz fan, and tailor the Jazz Ambassadors’s page to be more appealing and easier to navigate for that user.

Another exciting feature of the new Web site is that it will allow users to stream or download the entire Army Field Band discography. The information on the site will also be more current: the new Web site is decentralized, thereby allowing more updates from more people. What that means for the user is that as information becomes available, it will be up on the Web. According to Col. Thomas Palmatier, The United States Army Field Band commander, “It will be a whole different world and much more effective.”

The Army Field Band is also doing more in schools and universities across the United States. Prior to Spring Tour, small groups from the Army Field Band will be going to various learning institutions to teach masterclasses, coach students, and perform recitals. “We are continuing to develop the future leaders of the organization by having them head up small performing groups, develop new musical programs, and ideas for performances not only with the Concert Band, but also by ourselves,” said Sgt. Maj. Joan Mercer, element leader of the Soldiers’ Chorus.

On the production side, The Army Field band has welcomed a videographer. This is the first time the Army Field Band has had a position for a videographer, and Staff Sgt. Jared Morgan has already proven to be a vital member of the team. Morgan hit the ground running when he came aboard in October by shooting, directing, and editing the 2011 Holiday Concert that will air next year on The Pentagon Channel and the American Forces Network.

“The Army is charting new territory with digital media,” said Morgan. “The position that was created by Col. Palmatier at the Army Field Band opens the door for numerous possibilities, and I am very excited to be a part of it.”

When the weather gets hot this summer, so will the Army Field Band. Currently, the Army Field Band plans to celebrate the 65th Anniversary at Fort Meade as part of the Summer Concert Series. Although the details of the event are still being coordinated, Palmatier has promised something “extra” with that concert.

Also this summer the Jazz Ambassadors will be doing something different. “We feel that their entertainment is so good, we need to get them in front of larger numbers of people,” said Palmatier. “They will offer their services to the state fair circuit. We are hopeful that they will be a featured act at a lot of the big state fairs.”

In addition, America’s Big Band—the Jazz Ambassadors will be working throughout the year to offer new content to the Web site. “The Jazz Ambassadors are initiating a new educational project that includes recording new, original compositions and posting the recordings and sheet music to our Web site for free download and performance by band directors everywhere,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Buckley, element leader for the Jazz Ambassadors.

In the fall, The Volunteers is projected to return to Central Command where they will travel to different units and entertain troops serving in combat. Throughout the year, they will produce a full-length sponsor compact disc and a mini-CD for high schools, and are also writing original music, according to Sgt. Maj. Kirk Kadish, group leader for The Volunteers. “Should be another action-packed year,” said Kadish.

“If you’ve been to a concert by any one of the groups of the Musical Ambassadors of the Army, we look forward to seeing you again because we’ve always got something new,” said Palmatier. “If you’ve never been to one, check out the schedule at www.ArmyFieldBand.com and enjoy one of the more than 600 free performances that will be offered in 2011.”

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