For the first time ever in support of Redstone Arsenal, the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band from Fort Benning in Georgia will perform at two free local events in celebration of our nation’s active duty military on June 24 and 25.
“Our performances make audiences feel a sense of pride, patriotism and esprit de corps,” said Staff Sgt. Jay Parke, the band’s non-commissioned officer. “All of our Soldier musicians have put in countless hours perfecting this show, working around an intense musical performance schedule.”
Capt. Aaron Morris is the band conductor, he said.
The first performance will be in downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park with a Monday night 2019 Armed Forces Concert in the Park and Fireworks Show. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. In the event of rain the concert will be moved into the Von Braun Center’s South Hall and the fireworks will be canceled.
On Tuesday evening, a Community Concert to be held starting at 7 p.m. at the Bob Jones High School Auditorium, 650 Hughes Road in Madison. Access to the auditorium will be through Bob Jones Auditorium Lobby at the rear of the school.
“We are excited to have the band coming here as part of the Armed Forces Celebration Week,” said Austin Bullock, government and public affairs program manager for the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber, a co-sponsor of the event. “It’s going to be a great week.”
Tickets are free and not required to attend the Madison concert, but people with tickets will have first choice of seating.
Tickets are available at:
• Huntsville-Madison County Chamber, 225 Church St., NW, Huntsville
• Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation office on Redstone Arsenal, Building 1500 Weeden Mountain Road
• Madison City Hall, 100 Hughes Road
• Hogan Family YMCA, 130 Park Square Lane, Madison
The Maneuver Center of Excellence Band consists of eight performing groups which complete more than 500 military missions each year in support of military and civilian communities in and around Fort Benning.
“We are excited about these performances,” Parke said.
During the Huntsville and Madison performances, the full ensemble will perform, consisting of 43 Soldier musicians, Parke said.
“Within the ensemble you will hear from the full concert band, in addition to three different small musical performance groups,” Parke said. “Those groups include: the Jump Tower Brass Band, a no holds barred energetic New Orleans style brass band, Rolling Thunder, our primer popular music ensemble, and Turning Blues, our timelessly eloquent jazz combo.”
There are no Soldiers from Alabama in the band, but there are quite a few from surrounding states. The band’s first trip to the Huntsville area adds to its rich history.
Also known as the 283rd Army Band, it was first organized in 1916 in El Paso, Texas, as the 34th Infantry Band, of the 34th Infantry Regiment. During its time with the 34th Infantry Regiment the band earned campaign participation credit in World War I at Lorraine, France.
The band served many years at Fort Benning until it was inactivated in June of 1940.
In October of 1942 the band was reactivated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and this time aligned with the 136th Infantry Regiment. The band was once again called on to support overseas efforts during wartime. It was stationed on various Hawaiian Islands and then at Luzon, Manila in the Philippine Islands, before being deactivated once again in December of 1946.
After several re-organizations and re-designations in the 1940’s the band was finally activated once again in 1955 on Fort Benning, as the 283rd Army Band. In 2009 during Fort Benning’s transformation with Fort Campbell, located in Tennessee and Kentucky, the band was officially designated as the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band.
Parke said there’s no better way to celebrate the military than coming out to hear an Army band.
“When you come out to hear the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band, you’re sure to hear at least one or two songs that you love,” Parke said.