Army field band offers free concerts in Juneau

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2001

A big band in swing terms might include 18 musicians. A big band, in Army terms, means almost 100 musicians.

The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus arrives in Juneau today for two performances Friday at Centennial Hall. The concerts will be at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.; admission is free. Tickets are available at the Juneau Empire.

"They are the big Army field band from Washington," said Denny DeWitt, with Rep. Eldon Mulder's office, which is helping to sponsor the Juneau performance. DeWitt lived in Washington, D.C., in the early 1990s and has seen members of the band perform.

He said the band performs in a variety of configurations and has a broad repertoire.

"They do everything from '40s to contemporary," DeWitt said. "They do military and patriotic stuff and contemporary music, but I don't know if they do any hard rock."

He said the band has backed up popular musicians such as Barbra Streisand at concerts.

Since the band was formed in 1946, it has toured the world many times over. In America it has performed in all 50 states, for presidential inaugurations and for visiting heads of state. It has marched in parades and played at Carnegie Hall in New York.

The band includes about 60 musicians, and the chorus has about 30 singers. The chorus was formed in 1957 and has performed with symphony orchestras such as the Detroit and Dallas orchestras and recently with the Boston Pops Orchestra. The chorus features its own arrangements of familiar compositions.

The "Musical Ambassadors of the Army" are sponsored in Juneau by a consortium of groups, including the Juneau Empire, KINY Radio, Rep. Mulder - an Anchorage Republican - Princess Tours, Capital City Republican Women, the city of Juneau, Westmark Baranof and Alaska Military Weekly.

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