Big year ahead for the Army Field Band

By Jonathan E. Agee
The United States Army Field Band

News story photo
Photo credit: Master Sgt. Robert McIver Jr.
Col. Timothy Holtan, commander and conductor of The U.S. Army Field Band, said in 2012 he wants to continue building on the tremendous musical product that the Army Field Band produces and present it in the most advantageous manner possible to make the American people proud of their Army.
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- The United States Army Field Band wasted no time kicking off 2012. As the New Year began, 22 Soldiers from the unit traveled to San Antonio, Texas where they worked as mentors, coaches, and advisors to 125 high school band students, hand-picked to perform as part of the All American Marching Band.

But that was just the first week of the New Year – there is so much more to come!

The Army Field Band has quite a lineup scheduled, with performances ranging from Arkansas to Iowa and a lot in between. Each of the components has their own idea of how they will make 2012 a year to remember.

Sgt. Maj. Kirk Kadish, The Volunteers element leader, said his band is excited to bring a new level of excitement and musical performance to crowds around the world. “Musically, the band continues to evolve and mature at a rapid pace,” said Kadish. “The make-up of the band has been stable for well over two years now, and that stability is providing us with the cohesion, friendship, and trust necessary for a band to thrive and find its unique voice. High school students can expect a show that is even more dynamic and rockin' than in past years, and our other fans will enjoy performances that are inspiring and entertaining at a level with the very best entertainment money can buy.”

Col. Timothy Holtan, commander and conductor of The U.S. Army Field Band, feels that The Volunteers’ strategic outreach in 2012 will be a critical factor in building the next generation of musicians and music enthusiasts. “That’s where the seeds are really being planted,” said Holtan. “Most of the students I have interacted with in the halls in the Army School of Music heard some military music or ensemble years before they ever considered that as a career possibility. The importance of planting those seeds early shouldn’t be overlooked – can’t be overlooked.”

The Jazz Ambassadors are preparing highly entertaining concerts for spring, summer, and fall tours, as well as continuing to developing its educational resource, “Perspectives,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 William S. McCulloch, director for the Jazz Ambassadors. The “Perspectives” recordings are for big band jazz educators and their students, ranging in difficulty from middle school to professional level. Each recording is paired with printable parts, and written solos are included for ensembles with inexperienced improvisers. “This [Perspectives] was a big hit among music teachers and professors at the 2012 Jazz Education Network Conference,” said McCulloch. “The JAs look forward to expanding this catalog to assist educators in promoting and preserving our truly American national treasure - Jazz music.”

Holtan said he wants the Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus to provide an unsurpassed level of musical performance in 2012 that represents the Army and those serving around the world with a sense of pride and honor in their armed forces. “We want to take the best musical product and present it in the most advantageous manner to make our people very proud of their Army,” said Holtan. “I think we are achieving that goal pretty well.”

Aside from musical performances, the Army Field Band is also working hard on its educational products. The Army Field Band is the premier producer and distributer in the Army Band field of relevant educational products, according to Sgt. Maj. Darrin Blume, operations noncommissioned officer in charge. The educational resources include CDs, DVDs, and online tutorials that build relationships with band students and have a lasting impact with educators because many of the products are included in the school’s music library. This year many educational products will be online, allowing more access to students and educators as well as cutting production and distribution costs.

“There is an opportunity at every concert stop to visit schools,” said Holtan. “The educational outreach initiatives make sense and are well branded, they have a uniform message, they leave things in students’ hands that they can keep, refer back to and have as a reminder of the experience.”

Fans of the Army Field Band can also expect to see more video products being produced in the coming year. Video producer, Staff Sgt. Jared Morgan, said that he plans to produce a variety of content including educational videos, music videos, and a media kit in the coming year. Morgan is also excited about getting the products online and having the ability to share the products in a timely manner. “The way Americans are consuming entertainment is changing,” said Morgan. “There is an ever growing trend towards immediacy and original content.”

As Holtan completes his first six months commanding the Army Field Band he feels confident that the Soldiers will continue bringing a level of performance, education, and entertainment to the American public that represents the Army and its Soldiers with honor, respect, and excellence.

“As I look across the organization … I see everybody pulling on the rope in the same direction, efforts where one plus one might equal four,” said Holtan. “I am extremely pleased to be here and humbled to have the opportunity to command the organization. I’m driven to do all I can to give the individuals in the ensembles every opportunity to succeed and to help the Soldiers feel that the work they are doing is valued and important.”

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