Military band wins “Grammy”

By Jonathan E. Agee
The United States Army Field Band

News story photo
Photo credit: Command Sgt. Maj. Loran McClung
Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Lindsey, guitarist, and Sgt. Maj. Kirk Kadish, keyboardist, perform at the Army Band Leader Training after being selected as the Musical Performance Team of the year in the Small Popular Music Ensemble category.
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- For Sgt. Maj. Kirk Kadish, it is like winning the military equivalent of a Grammy. “In our division, for what we do we won the Army Band Grammys,” said Kadish. “It’s quite an honor.”

Kadish, group leader for The Volunteers, said that winning the Musical Performance Team (MPT) of the Year and the success of the musicians can be attributed to the fact that the band is continually improving, both musically and individually.

The Volunteers were selected as the MPT of the Year in the Small Popular Music Ensemble category by their peers, and presented their award on April 18. Each Army band had the opportunity to submit an unedited video to the Army Bands’ website, where Army bandsmen across the world voted on which band they thought were best.

The Volunteers submitted a live performance of the song “Young Lust,” by Pink Floyd. The video showcased the entire band in a live performance and featured crystal-clear audio taken directly from the mixing board.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Lindsey, guitarist. “There are lots of really talented musicians in groups in the Army and to be selected at the top is the best honor that I can think of for an Army bandsman.”

For Lindsey, winning the MPT of the Year comes down to one thing -- dedication to the craft.

“You have to maintain a certain level,” said Lindsey. “You never reach the pinnacle of what you think is success; when you do, you can quit playing at that point. Everybody is trying to reach a goal. Once you master a certain technique, it’s time to move on to the next. It never ends.”

Another element of The Volunteers’ success is teamwork, said Sgt. 1st Class Peter Krasulski, bassist. “Teamwork is so important,” said Krasulski. “Learn how to play together and how to listen together. Learn how to work together. We’re a set up and tear down crew, and we have to watch out for each other when we are working with heavy equipment. You can’t be part of a team and not invest time in teamwork. You have to take care of each other, and you have to remember that you are all out to do a mission and complete a mission in a timely manner.”

The Volunteers do have one advantage over many of the military bands out in the field. Because The Volunteers are a special band, they have the opportunity to stay together as one unit, whereas, many other Army bands may have alternating members as Soldiers change duty stations.

To help with this issue, Kadish offers this advice: “When a Soldier-Musician arrives at a new duty location, they have to figure out what makes the band they are joining talented,” said Kadish. “Then figure out how to fit into that talented group in the most effective way.”

The Volunteers are still deciding what they will submit for this year’s competition, and are currently working to improve their stage performance. They group said that in the future, they want to present themselves more as performers and not just musicians.

To see the video that won The Volunteers MPT of the Year, visit: http://youtu.be/qCTfjjel6R8

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