It’s been quite a year for the Army Ground Forces Band band. They relocated to Fort Bragg this summer from Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Ga., and hit the ground running. If you were to look at their calen-dar, you would see they spend as much time in the community as they do in their ceremo-nial role for the Army.
This holiday season, the band is teaming up with the Fayetteville Symphonic Band to offer a free concert to on Dec. 15, at Reeves Auditorium on the Methodist University Campus. The public is invited to the free performance. Traditionalists and fans of more contemporary music are in for a treat at the holiday concert, and can expect to hear a wide range of musical styles.
The Army Ground Forces Band has 64 musicians in its ranks and various ensembles that perform approximately 300 concerts a year.
The Fayetteville Symphonic Band is 70 members strong and pulls its mem-bership from Methodist University students as well as area professionals, edu-cators and students from the Cape Fear region.
Army Ground Forces Commander/Conductor Treg Ancelet is looking for-ward to the performance and getting to know the community a little better. “This is a joint effort, and we are really looking forward to it. The night will be filled with music all the way through,” said Ancelet.
The brass ensemble performs before the concert, to set the mood. Once the concert begins listen for a Boston Pops rendition of Christmas Festival, a performance by the Holiday Dixieland Band as intermission winds down, vocal performances and, of course, everyone’s favorite — the holiday sing-a-long at the end of the concert.
“You can’t have a holiday concert without the sing-a-long,” said Ancelet.
Larry Stevens, public affairs specialist, U.S. Army Forces Command, moved to Fayetteville with the band this spring. Like many former Atlanta resi-dents who now call Fayetteville home, Stevens is impressed by what he’s found here. Fitting into the local arts scene has been an easy transition for the band.
“We’ve really been reaching out to the community,” said Stevens. “We’ve been in contact with the local school system and places like the Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County to work on building relationships and becom-ing a part of the lively arts scene that exists here.”
The band played a big part in the Hero’s Homecoming celebration last month performing at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial dedication ceremony, the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, the Hero’s Homecoming wreath-laying ceremony, the N.C Veterans Day tribute and in the Veterans Day parade.
Local schools are also benefitting from the band’s presence, as are the neighboring communities. Chances are, if you haven’t heard them yet, it won’t be long before they are playing at whatever local events you attend.
A peek at their website, www.forscom.army.mil/band shows the organiza-tion will be participating in tree lightings, local parades and a Wreath’s Across America ceremony this month, too.
“There is such a lively art’s scene here,” said Steven’s. “I haven’t even had time to see much in Raleigh yet because there is always so much going on here.”
The holiday concert is free and open to the public. To get a ticket, send a self addressed, stamped envelope by Dec. 8 to The Army Ground Forces Band, ATTN: Public Affairs, 4700 Knox St., Fort Bragg, NC 28310.
Stevens encourages anyone who misses the Dec. 8 deadline to come to the concert anyhow. “Because this is a free concert, the no-show rate is sometimes high and we would love to be able to fill those seats and have someone be able to enjoy the show.”
Find out more about the concert and the Army Ground Forces Band at www.forscom.army.mil/band/ or by calling 570-7226.
Photo: Staff Sgt. Frank Briscoe, trumpeter for the Army Ground Forces Band.