The Army Ground Forces Band’s 64 soldiers and two officers will be moving permanently to Fort Bragg this June with its parent unit, U.S. Army Forces Command.

04-20-11-jazz-guardians.jpgEager to become a part of its new hometown community, the band is sending its Jazz Guardians to perform a vanguard concert as part of Fayetteville’s Jazz Appreciation Month at the Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Horace Sisk Gymnasium, 6 p.m., April 22.

The Jazz Guardians is an eleven-member ensemble whose primary mission is to maintain and promote the uniquely American art form of Jazz.

The Jazz Guardians pay tribute to the big bands of yesteryear by performing the music made popular by such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and Woody Herman.

Demonstrating great versatility, the group also performs the latest and most innovative sounds of today’s most popular composers.

“We’re really glad this opportunity to work with WFSS-FM 91.9 came up to introduce the Jazz Guardians during Jazz Appreciation Month as the first of many performances our band will be performing as we establish Fort Bragg and the Sandhills area as our new home,” said Maj. Treg Ancelet, the band commander and conductor. 

“It is particularly appropriate that we will feature the vocal talents of our Sgt. Shirley Dirden because the Smithsonian Institution has declared 2011 to be the year of the Female Jazz Artist.”

The Jazz Guardians is just one Army Ground Forces Band ensemble. Other groups, or Music Performance Teams, include the concert and ceremonial bands, a brass quintet and brass ensemble, a woodwind quintet known as the Quintessential Winds, a rock/pop group called the Loose Cannons, a jazz combo, a Dixieland Band and the Brass Brigade, which pushes performance styles with a broad repertoire of music from traditional Dixie to funk and rap and even a little soul.

The band and its MPTs serve as musical ambassadors of the American combat Soldier to the American people.

Indeed, one of The Army Ground Forces Band’s major missions is to serve as a community outreach asset for the Army’s largest command, United States Army Forces Command, currently headquartered at Fort McPherson, Ga., but relocating here this summer in compliance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation.

Through parades, concerts, ceremonies and other public appearances, the band offers a positive perception of the U.S. military to diverse publics, promotes good will among its fellow Americans and fosters a sense of patriotism and national unity.

In addition to traveling throughout the United States, performing at local, regional and national events, the band regularly holds master classes and clinics at middle schools, high schools and colleges, thus providing a valuable, free resource to the rising generation of America’s musicians by exposing them to professional musicians and a possible career path.

Ancelet has already been in the area twice to meet with school music directors and arts and community organizations.

“I’ve been very pleased with how enthusiastic everyone I’ve met on these visits has been that we are coming to Fort Bragg. That has given me lots of positives to take back to my Soldiers about what they have to look forward to when we arrive here,” he said.

“And, as we settle in, I hope to meet with more schools and community organizations to discuss ways that we can collaborate with them.”

The 64 soldiers assigned to the AGFB have passed highly selective auditions and are among the finest musicians in the United States Army Band Program. The majority of the band’s members have studied music at some of the finest universities and conservatories.

For more on the band and to request the band, go to mil/band.

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