When thinking about the rugged young men and women of today’s Army, chamber music may not be the first thing that comes to mind.
But this Saturday, Jan. 8th at 11 a.m. you can enjoy some of the finest musicians in the country as the U.S. Army Field Band Chamber Brass ensemble performs at the Howard County Miller Branch library. The five members of the ensemble will show that they can handle trombones and trumpets as well as their colleagues handle tanks.
The Field Band, which is based at Fort Meade, is known as the “Musical Ambassadors of the Army.” They can perform as a full 65 member concert band, complete with a 29 member soldier’s chorus, or in various smaller configurations with their many wind, brass and vocal ensembles. They even feature a barbershop quartet!
Calling themselves “Soldiers representing Soldiers,” one of the missions of the Field band is to promote the dedication and professionalism of American Soldiers serving throughout the world.
Another of the Band’s missions is music education outreach. Band members participate in hundreds of recitals and teaching clinics at local schools, universities and libraries. They also provide free curriculum materials, CDs and DVDs to educators.
And the Band provides a link to the past, and the history of military musicians.An Ancient Beginning Music is an integral part of today’s military experience, as it has been for thousands of years. Archeologists found ancient Assyrian bas relief carvings that depict Army musicians with cymbals and harps from as far back as the 7th century BC. Other panels show musicians leading the Assyrian armies in a triumphant victory procession after defeating their enemies in battle.
The Romans were among the first to actually organize the military musicians as a part of their army. Called ‘aenatores,’ they performed many of the same duties as a modern military musical unit would today, providing music at funerals, official functions and parties.
On the battlefield, the Romans found they had a need to relay orders for troop movements from officers located far from the action. A musician blowing signals on a four foot bronze ‘tubercine,’ or trumpet, allowed the generals to give direction while staying safe from harm.
The Roman military were the first to acknowledge in writing the usefulness of musicians “to fire up attacking troops and to uphold their spirits while they endure privations and fatigue.”
Martial music continued to evolve. New instruments were added to military bands including kettle drums, reed instruments such as oboes, and brass instruments.Read the rest...