May 20, 2009

29th Army Band to play concerts across Virginia

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

ROANOKE, Va. — The Virginia Army National Guard’s most “instrumental” unit begins a summer-long campaign of missions this week at Roanoke’s Festival in the Park and will descend upon more than 16 cities across the commonwealth.

The Roanoke-based 29th Army Band will begin its annual summer concert series May 22 with the first of many summer concerts and performances. The band will tour all over the state this year performing music for the people of Virginia in more than 18 performances from now until July.

Not only will the band be performing concerts for the citizens of Virginia, but the citizen-Soldier musicians will also bring their talents to multiple change of command ceremonies and Freedom Salutes for their brothers-in-arms throughout Virginia.

Additionally, the 53 Soldiers of the band will perform at several sporting events during the summer months, including performing the national anthem at the Richmond International Raceway.

The summer performances will give the members of the band a good opportunity to share their experiences and explain the benefits of the Virginia National Guard, according to Sgt. 1st Class Richard Carr, the readiness noncommissioned officer of the 29th Army Band.

“One of the best aspects of being in the band is the different people we get to meet and interact with,” said Carr, a 21 year veteran of the Guard.

The summer shows will also give the band a chance to show Virginians that the Army National Guard does more than just train for war overseas and focus on homeland defense, but that it also has a civic responsibility to the communities of the commonwealth.

Often people only associate the military with fighting and war, according to Spc. Sara Smith, a band member.

“Many do not realize that we have occupations in the military such as police, electricians, firemen, computer analysts, and musicians,” said Smith.

The band began in 1922 in Roanoke as part of the 116th Infantry Brigade Service Company, but was federalized in October 1943 as part of the 29th Infantry Division. Members of the band assisted the assault on Omaha Beach. Throughout World War II the band saw action in four European campaigns, according to their website.

Date Time Event and Location
May 24 2:00 p.m. Festival in the Park at Elmwood Park in Roanoke
June 6 11:00 a.m. 65th Commemoration of D-Day Memorial in Bedford 
June 6 6:00 p.m. The Lee’s and Independence at Stratford Hall in Stratford
June 14 2:00 p.m. Military Night at Memorial Baseball Park in Salem
June 21 6:30 p.m. Summer Concert at Merchants Square in Williamsburg
June 24 7:30 p.m. Summer Concert Series at Fairfax Elk’s Lodge in Fairfax
June 26 7:30 p.m. Summer Concert at Downtown Plaza in Front Royal
June 27 7:00 p.m. National Anthem at Richmond Raceway in Richmond
June 28 7:00 p.m Summer Concert on the Lawn at JMU in Harrisonsburg
June 29 8:00 p.m. Summer Concert at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton
July 3 6:00 p.m. Military Appreciation Day at Memorial Park in Danville
July 4 2:00 p.m. July 4th Parade in Downtown Blacksburg
July 4 6:00 p.m. July 4th Concert at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg
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