Military Music Blog

Music and World War II May 15 2012, 0 Comments

Studies have concluded that WWII affected music. Before the war, swing and vocal groups were the most popular forms of American music. Thousands of dance bands performed in ballrooms and theaters around the country. The biggest names were Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and the most popular leader of all, Glenn Miller. People paid a small entrance fee - 50 cents or so - and could dance for hours to one of the bands. The music was generally very romantic or upbeat and "swingin'". They also listened to groups such as the Andrews Sisters and the Mills Brothers, and solo vocalists such as Bing Crosby. When the U.S. entered the war, there was an initial flurry of tunes written to fuel patriotic feelings, such as "Keep 'em Flying" and "Any Bonds Today?" (Urging people to buy War Bonds). But as the war dragged on and more and more people entered the service, songs became more reflective, even sad.

May 2012 Community Band Spotlight May 15 2012, 0 Comments

NHB Dallas, a nonprofit association of more than 65 volunteer musicians, has come a long way since four founding members met in the back of a local music store in 1999. Today, in addition to the Navy ceremonies, repeat performances include the popular Christmas concerts at Dallas' NorthPark Center, the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival, and the V.A. Medical Center during National Salute to Veterans Week. The remainder of the concert year is booked by private groups such as retiree, church and business organizations.

April 2012 Community Band Spotlight April 17 2012, 0 Comments

April is spring concert month for the Cascades Concert Band, which means it is John Philip Sousa Time. Normally, every other number in our concert is a Sousa composition. It is a traditional concert series every spring. The crowd loves Sousa and we love playing Sousa. The band also travels to Canada every June (this year will be our 3rd time) to perform at the Ladner Band Fest in Ladner , British Columbia. Ladner Band Fest is a two day event with community bands from all over the province.

The Valiant Musicians of the Titanic April 17 2012, 14 Comments

Full studies by eminent musicologists have considered the several probabilities of the music that was played as the ship crossed the threshold into its last moments to sink forever to the bottom of the sea. The following is an effort in deductive reasoning to determine the state of mind of the shipboard musicians whom decided to stay the course and give the passengers a solemn sendoff. In gathering information, much use was made of the news reports of the day, later reconstructions in movies, first person reports, Internet studies, books and articles. Regarding the music performed on the ship it is fair to say that based on the time frame and the music published as well as the knowledge of salon repertoire, a musical blueprint will emerge.

The United States Navy Song- "Anchors Aweigh" April 13 2012, 1 Comment

The song made its first public appearance on December 1, 1906 at the 1906 Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia’s Franklin Field. In those days the Army dominated the game, but the song proved so inspiring that the Navy football team won that game for the first time in several seasons by a score of Navy 10, Army 0. A tradition was born. The song was subsequently dedicated to the Class of 1907 at Annapolis.

White House Easter Egg Roll April 05 2012, 0 Comments

The White House Easter Egg Roll, which draws flocks of children and their families onto the South Lawn of the White House for egg rolling and other games, has become a yearly tradition that dates back to 1878; however, it wasn’t until 1889 that President Benjamin Harrison first invited John Philip Sousa and the Marine Band to perform during the celebration. “It is a thrill to be a part of the time-honored practice of rolling Easter eggs on the White House South Lawn on Easter Monday,” said Marine Band historian Master Gunnery Sergeant Michael Ressler. “It has become a great tradition for the Marine Band and we look forward to being a part of the festivities every year.”

The Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus in Nashville! March 26 2012, 0 Comments

The Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus performed in Nashville, TN yesterday- and it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to! The musicians were absolutely fantastic! The show featured marches like Sousa's "Fairest of the Fair," "El Capitan," and "Armed Forces Medley." My personal favorite was the "Selections from Les Miserables." The arrangement featured MANY soloists from the Chorus, and they were all wonderful! There are three concerts remaining for this tour- March 27 in Greenville, TN; March 28 in Montreat, NC; and March 29 in South Boston, VA. If you live near these areas please make a point to attend the concert, you will have a great time!

The United States Air Force Song- "Wild Blue Yonder" March 08 2012, 0 Comments

The first page of the score, which Crawford submitted to the selection committee in July 1939, was carried to the surface of the moon on July 30, 1971 aboard the Apollo 15 “Falcon” lunar module by Colonel David R. Scott and Lieutenant Colonel James B. Irwin. Interestingly, at the moment the “Falcon” blasted off the surface of the moon with Scott and Irwin on board, a rendition of the “Air Force Song” was broadcast to the world by Major Alfred M. Worden, who had a tape recorder aboard the “Endeavor” command module which was in orbit around the moon. Scott, Irwin and Worden comprised the first and only “All-Air Force” Apollo crew and arranged to take the page of sheet music with them as a tribute to Crawford and the United States Air Force.

New Video from USAF Max Impact February 29 2012, 0 Comments

Max Impact, the premier rock band of the United States Air Force, is thrilled to release a new video featuring their original song "Send Me."

The Marines' Hymn February 27 2012, 0 Comments

The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest official song in the United States military. The "Marines' Hymn" is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect. However, the third verse is also used as a toast during formal events, such as the birthday ball and other ceremonies.

From Fife and Drum Album Review February 27 2012, 1 Comment

This is an Album for the Ages and celebrates the 190th Anniversary of “The Presidents Own” United States Marine band under the direction of Colonel John R Bourgeois. From Fife and Drum really underscores the genesis of the Marine band as a recording entity. The title represents the lineage of the world renowned band which was founded on July 11th 1798. The band, which is America’s oldest musical organization, performs music on this recording, and has become synonymous with their record of achievement. The historical content is worth the price alone beginning with an introduction by music critic Paul Hume followed by the announcement of John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post.”

February 2012 Community Band Spotlight February 14 2012, 0 Comments

Montrose, Colorado has a rich history of municipal bands, dating back nearly 100 years. Herb Probasco organized the Montrose Community Band in 2002 with just 12 members. Today, the band has over 30-40 members per concert and continues to grow. The band features a wide range of musicians from High School students to accomplished artists.

Celebrating Black History Month- James Reese Europe February 14 2012, 0 Comments

James Reese Europe was a well-known international jazz band musician and band leader. He joined the army during World War II and obtained a Commission in the New York Army National Guard, where he saw combat as a lieutenant with the 369th Infantry Regiment (the "Harlem Hellfighters"). He went on to direct the regimental band to great acclaim. In February and March of 1918, James Reese Europe and his military band travelled over 2,000 miles in France, performing for British, French, and American military audiences, as well as French civilians. Europe's "Hellfighters" made their first recordings in France for the Pathé brothers.

The House That Ruth Built –The Original Yankee Stadium 1923-1973 February 10 2012, 0 Comments

ankee Stadium officially opened on Wednesday, April 18, 1923, with the Yankees' first home game. According to the New York Evening Telegram, "everything smelled of ... fresh paint, fresh plaster and fresh grass." At 3 p.m., the composer/conductor John Philip Sousa led the Seventh ("Silk-Stocking") Regiment Band in playing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” After a parade of the players and dignitaries, Babe Ruth was presented with...

Legacy of Mary Lou Williams Review February 06 2012, 0 Comments

Mary Lou Williams was one of those musicians who overcame a variety of impediments in her early life to become one of America’s seminal composers and arrangers’. This disc reprises many her well-known compositions which are done with style and verve designed to reveal the meaning the composer intended. While the song list is not necessarily in chronological order, it does lay out her writing and arranging starting with her earliest forays in the late 20s and early 30s. “Roll ‘Em”, “Messa Stomp” and Walkin’ and Swinging” are from that period and the band delivers accordingly in a boogie-woogie style with the rhythm section supporting the melodies with a typical 30s “chugga chugga” beat.

New Website! Check it out! January 24 2012, 1 Comment

Jack Kopstein has launched a new website that features an encyclopedia of military band musicians, music, and conductors from around the world!  This is a very valuable resource, be sure to check it out! World Book of Military Music

Redirect to January Community Band Spotlight January 17 2012, 0 Comments

Sorry for the incorrect link.  Please click here to view the January Community Band Spotlight featuring the Plano, TX Community Band!

Kenneth J. Alford January 17 2012, 2 Comments

The music of Kenneth J Alford has become synonymous with the tradition of British military music and in particular the Royal Marine bands. Kenneth Alford (Fredrick Joseph Ricketts) was born in London on February 21, 1881. Yearning for a career in military music, he joined the Royal Irish Regiment in 1895. After playing the cornet, piano and organ in the Royal Irish Regiment and serving in India, Frederick Joseph R Ricketts became a student bandmaster at the Royal Military School of Music in 1904 . He became the bandmaster for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1908. He also served as director of music for the Royal Marines where he gained his most prominence. Ricketts composed under his...

Community Band Spotlight January 2012 January 17 2012, 2 Comments

Community Band Spotlight this month features the band of Plano, Texas! The Plano Community Band is a non-profit volunteer organization, which currently has 85 active members from all walks of life: college students, doctors, mechanical engineers, software engineers, teachers, financial analysts, veterinarian, music teachers, geologist, marketing, and many more!  Throughout the years there have been many retired military service members who have joined the band, and some even played in one of the military bands while enlisted!  The mission of the band is to provide quality music, free of charge, to a wide variety of audiences.....

Hail to the Chief December 09 2011, 0 Comments

"Hail to the Chief" is a march primarily associated with the President of the United States. Its playing accompanies the appearance of the President at many public appearances. For major official occasions, the United States Marine Band and other military ensembles generally are the performers. It is preceded by four ruffles and flourishes when played for the President.

Community Band Spotlight December 2011 December 09 2011, 1 Comment

Community Band Spotlight this month features the band of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, a historic town full of Victorian charm. The group consists of volunteer musicians of all ages from the surrounding areas. Their mission: “to share our love of music, and have fun while doing so.” This year the band celebrates it’s 27th anniversary! Bellefonte Community Band consists of about 50 members, ranging from middle school students to retirees. Five members of the band are veterans, and three were military band musicians....

Christmas Videos by US Military Bands November 30 2011, 0 Comments

Great videos of Christmas performances by the US Military Bands.

Community Band Spotlight October 2011 October 27 2011, 0 Comments

The Karl King Band is the municipal band for Fort Dodge, Iowa. This ensemble has historically provided a summer concert series in the Karl King Bandshell in beautiful Oleson Park and an indoor concert series held in the auditorium of Iowa Central Community College. The outdoor, summer concert series is an 80 year tradition. The first summer concert was in 1921, after Karl King arrived in Ft. Dodge. These concerts are free to all, and are provided as a service by the City of Fort Dodge. The Karl King Band performs most concerts with an instrumentation of 40 – 45 musicians. Most players live around the area, but there a few that come from as far away as Des Moines and Sioux City . . .

15th Field Artillery Regiment Band, RCA October 27 2011, 0 Comments

The Fifteenth Field Regiment began in February 1920 after a decision by the Canadian Artillery to formally establish a militia unit in Vancouver. Originally called the Fifteenth Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, the unit consisted of several horse drawn cannons manned by a group of battle hardened veterans of the First World War. Although there is no official record of a band in the early years of the unit, other sources indicate military bands performed throughout British Columbia as early as the 1860's. . . .