Fort Riley, Kansas

 

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Junction City musicians, ‘Big Red One’ Soldiers make music together

By J. Parker Roberts | 1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | July 22, 2014

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. – Members of the Fort Riley and Junction City communities are often in harmony, but that was literally the case in June when members of the 1st Infantry Division Band joined the Junction City Community Band for a series of four free concerts at the historic C.L. Hoover Opera House in Junction City.  

“I think it’s great,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jeffrey Price, commander and bandmaster for the 1st Inf. Div. Band, of his Soldiers’ volunteering with the community band.  “It allows us an opportunity to be a part of our community.”

Victor Wong, president of the Junction City Community Band board, said the band originally formed in the 1800s but was reformed in its current form in 1996.  Beginning in 2012, members of the “Big Red One” regularly took part in the band’s performances.

“It’s been great,” Wong said, adding that the board appreciated the high skill level that 1st Inf. Div. musicians brought to the group.

Staff Sgt. Jason Ford, a clarinet player with the 1st Inf. Div. Band, served as the conductor for the final Junction City Community Band concert on June 29.

“I love the Army, and I love the Army band field,” Ford said.  “I get to make music all over the world.  I’ve been stationed in Korea and Germany and all over the United States.  And I’ve gotten to make music everywhere I went, so it’s fantastic.”

Ford said the C.L. Hoover Opera House, which first opened in 1882 and underwent a $7 million restoration and renovation in 2008, was a world-class venue.

“Junction City is fantastic all around for arts,” he said.  “It’s a very art-driven community.”

Eight members of the 1st Inf. Div. Band participated in the community band during its 2014 season.

In conducting the band, Ford found that while the members of the band had various skill levels, “their love of music is all equal.”  Ford said volunteering is important for Soldiers because it showed the communities they live in and near that they care.

“Our participation as volunteers makes thte community better,” he said.  “They see the Soldiers getting out there and enjoying and being a part of their community instead of isolating themselves.”

Wong said he enjoyed the partnership between the Big Red One and the Junction City community.

“We hope to continue a healthy relationship with the band,” he said.

Members of the 1st Inf. Div. Band also play with the Manhattan Municipal Band, which has various performances scheduled through July, and the Abilene Municipal Band.  The 1st Inf. Div. Band can next be seen performing at the 4th of July Celebration in Wamego, Kansas.

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