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‘Big Red One’ band brings in holiday season concert

By Capt. Ed Alvarado | 19TH PUBLIC AFFAIRS DETACHMENT | December 22, 2017

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. – The 1st Infantry Division Band brought the holiday season to the Flint Hills community with a series of free concerts at the historic C.L. Hoover Opera House in Junction City, Kansas Dec. 15 and 16.

     The concert boasted a diverse catalogue of songs, ranging from old classics like “Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder to big rock orchestra songs like “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The event was the culmination of preparations that started in September.

     “That is when I formed a committee who came up with a theme and began planning the logistics,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew David, commander and primary conductor of the 1st Inf. Div. Band. “That is also when I started writing the music arrangements for the concert.”

     David, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in music performance in clarinet from Florida State University, had a specific vision when composing the program.

     “My vision for the concerts is to compose music pieces that sound exactly like the recordings you hear on the radio; this is called aural transcription,” David, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, said. “It’s a skill that I have been honing since I started transcribing music from my first deployment in 2006.”

       A program this diverse also needed the assistance of the unique talent that the “Big Red One” possesses within its ranks.

     “I’m very fortunate to have Spc. Michael Turner and Spc. Taylor Lovett who chose beautiful concert band literature; each of them will be conducting the pieces they chose,” David said. “Both of these talented Soldiers came enlisted already having music degrees and much civilian experience.”

       According to David, this year’s concert also held extra meaning to the band, as the entire unit is home to perform in the concerts, in contrast to last year when a quarter of the unit was deployed.

      “In the past, when certain members of the band were deployed, members of the Junction City Community Band stepped in to complete the ensemble,” said Joe Markley, who with his wife, Sheila, are directors of the opera house. “This is the first year to have the complete band here since I started as director.”

       According to Markley, the 1st Inf. Div. Band has performed at the opera house for the past six years.

      “The band concert is always the highlight for the community,” Markley said. “With the many close ties that we have with Fort Riley, it is an event that really draws people together.”

 

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