July 14, 2008

29th Army Band entertains Commonwealth during summer annual training

By Sgt. Jesse L. Houk
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

Spc. Kevin S. Carter performs beside members of the Stonewall Brigade Band.  The 29th Army Band combined forces with the Stonewall Brigade Band during a concert in Staunton, Va., June 30. (Photo by Sgt. Jesse L. Houk, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

STAUNTON, Va. — Soldiers from the 29th Army Band performed a community concert for a large audience June 30, at Gypsy Park in Staunton, Va.

The 29th Army Band, based out of Roanoke, Va., was participating in its annual training which included seven concerts, one pass and review and one parade over 11 days and took place throughout the entire state.

The 29th Army Band, which has 52 members, gained the support of the Stonewall Brigade Band to make them around a 100-piece band. The 29th Army Band often joins with community bands in an effort to reach out and make some lasting connections with the community.

“This will be the sixth year that we’ve played with this band,” said Sgt. 1st Class Richard A. Carr, Jr., 29th Army Band readiness noncommissioned officer. “Most of the community bands that we’ve played with are from around the entire state and we’ve played with for multiple years. It has created a lot of good relationships in different areas.”

The large audience that assembled listens intently as the 29th Army Band and the Stonewall Brigade Band play many patriotic melodies.  The 29th Army Band has combined forces with the Stonewall Brigade Band for the last six years to perform such concerts. (Photo by Sgt. Jesse L. Houk, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The 29th Army Band is arguably the most visible of all units in the Virginia Army National Guard. According to Carr the band plays for 150,000 people and performs an average of 47 times each year.

“A lot of times the only Soldiers the communities sees are those in the band because we’re out performing so much,” said Spc. Katie D. Delacruz, percussionist. “We are the image of the Soldier to the community. We are the one’s that people come up to and say thank you.” 

Being a musician is just one of many jobs in the Virginia Army National Guard.  Each job is as valuable as the next because as the guard moves, impacts and protects the Commonwealth it does so as one body. Soldiers in the 29th Army Band are doing what they do best; playing music.

“A Soldier is willing to do what ever it takes, whatever the job is,” said Carr.  “Whether it’s doing the sandbags, going to Iraq or Afghanistan, we’re Soldiers first but our responsibility to be musicians, so therefore, we’re doing what we do best to pass that on to the citizens of Virginia.”

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