December 18, 2008

29th Army Band salutes the season with holiday concerts 

By Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

The 29th Army Band and vocalist Melissa Carter perform Dec. 6 in Centreville, during the second of three free holiday concerts the Virginia Guard presented throughout the state. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard's 29th Army Band treated Guardsmen, their families and members of the local community to the sounds of the season with three free holiday concerts Dec. 5-7 in Weber City, Centreville and Virginia Beach.

First Baptist Church in Weber City, Centreville United Methodist Church in Centreville and Thalia Lynn Baptist Church in Virginia Beach hosted the events.

The concerts were a chance for the Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard to express their appreciation for their families’ and friends’ support during the past year, according to Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. 

Sgt. Jason Hale was one of four vocalists who performed with the band during the concerts. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“Your care and concern for our Guardsmen and their families have been instrumental in the accomplishment of the Virginia National Guard mission both here in the Commonwealth and overseas,” said Newman. “As a token of our appreciation, it is our pleasure to celebrate the holiday season with the performance featuring the Virginia National Guard’s 29th Army Band.”

The band performed a variety of holiday songs such as “Sleigh Ride,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “O Holy Night,” as well as a medley of other Christmas favorites. Vocalists Melissa Carter, Tina Harrison and Chelsey Helms joined the band for the performances.

Sgt. Jason Hale and Sgt. Laura Venable of the 29th Army Band are joined on stage for a holiday sing-a-long by children from the audience at the Dec. 6 concert in Centreville. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Near the end of each show, Santa Claus made a surprise appearance and the audience joined the band and the vocalists for a holiday sing-a-long. 

Following the concerts, guests and band members gathered for refreshments and visits with Santa.

“It was great that the community and families came out and supported the concerts,” said Dana Ivory, Family Program State Youth Coordinator. “I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again next year.”

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