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1st Infantry Division Band members find time on recent New York trip to share expertise with middle-school musicians

By Staff Sgt. Jerry Griffis | 1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | September 30, 2016

     When the 1st Infantry Division Band was invited to West Point, New York, to perform during a football game, they didn’t know there would be a tiny audience awaiting them as well.

     Staff of West Point Middle School invited 1st Inf. Div. Band members to help teach their band students preliminary lessons about their instruments Sept. 9.

     Megan Reifenberg, West Point Middle School band instructor, said in the past the students only opened the cases to their instruments on the first day.

     “I was trying to think of different ways that we might be able to roll out instruments, and one thing that I thought was using one of our local resources – the West Point Band,” she said.

     Representatives from the West Point Band in­formed Reifenberg this year the “Big Red One” band would be visiting and offered to bring them along to help teach the students.

     “It’s a little bit different back at Fort Riley because we actually just perform for the students,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew David, band master for the 1st Inf. Div. “This time, it’s actually really neat where we actually got to do a little bit of tutorial with these students.”

     The students, who were primarily fifth-graders, split into groups based on what instrument they played and then were paired with a Soldier from the band.

     “It’s always nice to be able to have that one-on-one with the students, and we are all musicians,” David said.

     Reifenberg said having the Soldiers come to the school to teach was more efficient than trying to teach all of the students from one instrument.

     “I think it is so valu­able for young musicians to interact and listen and be exposed to professionals in their craft,” Reifenberg said.

     Spc. Florida Jaimes, flutist with 1st Inf. Div. Band, has been playing since she was in sixth grade.

     “I think it’s good because it shows the kids this side of the military — a friendly side,” she said.

     Jaimes said it is beneficial for the students to see the Soldiers doing something they want to do and help create a connection.

     “It’s a great partnership in a way in which Soldiers can give back to the community and the students can benefit from,” Reifenberg said. “I know for these students, chomping at the bit, I know it’s going to leave a lasting impression.”

 

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