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1st Infantry Division Band celebrates 100 years of music

By Sgt. Michael C. Roach | 19TH PUBLIC AFFAIRS DETACHMENT | June 09, 2017

     The 1st Infantry Division Band held the finale of their Spring Concert Series “The History of the Division” at the C.L. Hoover Opera House in Junction City, Kansas, May 25.

     “We usually use Junction City as our culminating event and with this concert we are telling the history of the division over the last 100 years,” said Spc. Brad Smith, Army musician with the 1st Inf. Div. Band.

     Smith served as one of four members on a committee that planned the event.

     The concert combined the talents of the 1st Inf. Div. Band and members of the Junction City Community Band into a collaborative effort that covered a variety of musical styles by compartmentalizing the different eras of “Big Red One” history. Complete with a selection of historical and referential photographs displayed behind the concert band comprising both groups, the show moved over the last century by referencing the conflicts that shaped the nation as well as the division.

     “We’ve had a good relationship with the Junction City Community Band and we have a great relationship with the opera house,” said Spc. Amanda DiClerico, an Army musician with the 1st Inf. Div. Band who also sat on the committee to organize the event. “It’s just nice to work with them and have us here.”

     Musical Performance Teams from the 1st Inf. Div. Band were each assigned an era. The band’s woodwind quintet played a tribute to World War I. The jazz combo took on big band style music for World War II. The brass quintet performed renditions of “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas to encapsulate the Vietnam War, and concluded with “99 Luftballons” by Nena to signify the climax of Cold War tensions. The Big Red One brass band performed “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics and “Killing Me Softly” as arranged by the Youngblood Brass Band to highlight the Gulf War to present day.

     Junction City Mayor Phyllis Fitzgerald took the time to say a few words to the audience before the conclusion of the performance.

     “My name is Phyllis Fitzgerald, I’m the mayor of Junction City and I am also a Big Red One Soldier,” she said, before thanking the band, members of the 1st Inf. Div. currently deployed and the audience members for attending the event and supporting the community. Fitzgerald served as an intelligence analyst officer for the 1st Inf. Div. during Operation Desert Storm.

     Planning for the Spring Concert Series began in January when it was decided that a committee of four junior members of the unit would form to decide the nature of the program and gain experience in producing such an event. The responsibility ultimately fell to DiClerico, Smith, Sgt. Stephen Doney and Sgt. Steven Wagner. The group was given some basic guidelines but decided on the theme and organized the event on their own.

     “It has been a great opportunity to see how everything goes on behind the scenes,” DiClerico said. “We have two (specialists) and two (sergeants) and we’ve pretty much taken the helm and split ourselves into different lanes and tried to coordinate everything.”

     Four concerts were planned for the Spring Concert Series. The band played Concordia and Wamego, Kansas, and were slotted to play Manhattan, Kansas; an event which was canceled due to weather.

     “It’s their show,” said 1st Sgt. Terrina Anderson, 1st Inf. Div. Band’s senior noncommissioned officer and acting commander. “(It’s) fantastic from my perspective. It went really well.”

     The committee of Soldiers responsible for the event used their previous professional experience to help guide them in producing the concert.

     “I was a teacher before, and we put on performances so that (experience) helped,” Smith said. “DiClerico has done a lot of professional musician stuff also, so that’s helped. Sgt. Wagner has done some performing on the professional side before the Army so that helped and Sgt. Doney was a teacher also.”