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Former ‘Big Red One’ band commander: Army musicians impactful, inspirational

By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | March 14, 2016

     Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jeff Price, former commander of 1st In­fantry Division Band, entered the room at Riley’s Conference Center playing bagpipes Feb. 25 for the Junction City Military Affairs Coun­cil breakfast.

     Price wasn’t the entertainment, he was the guest speaker and spoke on the importance of the band and music within the Army and em­phasized the 1st Inf. Div. commu­nity and a brief history from 1775 onward. His presentation focused on answering the question, “Why does the Army have the band around?”

     “Army music has always been a part of the Army,” Price said. “It’s not just because it moves troops on the battlefield, it’s because it’s part of who we are.”

     Price said music takes people back in time. It’s a catalyst for their mem­ories, reminding them of moments in their lives like a first dance, time with friends or graduation from basic training.

     “In the Army, after basic training, you hear an Army band,” Price said. “When you’re deployed and need encouragement, you hear an Army band. If by any chance, you should pass away, there will be an Army band because it’s part of who we are. Music is that important.”

     Music is a universal lan­guage that links us altogeth­er, Price said. It creates and strengthens bonds between people and cultures, and the presence of the Army band shows how important some­thing is to the Army and the U.S. because music is an im­portant part of American cul­ture.

     “When you think about those basic training gradua­tions, the sons and daughters that you’ve entrusted with the Army are so special – we sent your Army band,” Price said. “When we’re trying to build relationships with our coalition partners – you’re so important to us that we sent our band. Your traditions … your queen and her birthday, it’s so im­portant, here’s our Army band because we know it’s important to you – it’s important to us.”

     The musicians who are a part of the band serve by motivating and supporting other Soldiers and connecting communities, Price said. Their job is a unique and selfless type of service.

     “Our job is to motivate and encourage and inspire and sell that message,” Price said. “It takes a special personal­ity to be able to maintain that level of service. Every day we’re asked to do something else. Every day we’re asked to create something else. Every day we’re asked to reach into our bag of tricks and figure out a way to connect to a certain group, a certain population.”

     The Army band does more than serve Soldiers and U.S. Allies. Price said the Soldier musicians also serve their local communities.

     “Army Soldiers, we live and work in the community,” Price said. “What better way to be linked to the community, but through music and the arts? You are building a better world, a better Army, a better community.”

     As former commander of the band and an advocate of music, Price has strong beliefs about the Army band’s impor­tance and many in attendance supported his position with their experiences.

     “In previous deployments, it’s always nice having those guys (the band), especially around the holidays,” said Lt. Col. Clint Tra­cy, 1st Infantry Division Sustain­ment Brigade commander.

     Others took away a greater understanding of the long his­tory and ways the band had im­pacted and participated.

     “He sort of peeled the onion back on the history of what the band does, it’s not just a prelude and a postlude,” said Lt. Col. Peter Johnson, Division Head­quarters and Headquarters Bat­talion, 1st Inf. Div. “It’s a whole culture and part of our history, which is really cool. I think what it did was help flesh out what the band really does. In­stead of having a narrow view­point, it has broadened my ho­rizons on Army music. It’s more than just music, it’s a culture of who we are.”

     Price said he will always car­ry with him the service to others through music.

     “The great thing about be­ing an Army musician is the service aspect,” Price said. “Self­less service is one of our values. I have the opportunity on a daily basis to serve others, to encour­age others, to motivate others, to inspire others to be their best, to communicate the message of our Army, of our nation.”