08-07-13-armyground.gifThanks to its strong connection to Fort Bragg, the citizens of Fayetteville have a unique level of access to the military. One way that this benefits the community is the many events that the military sponsors and that local citizens get to enjoy. One such event is the concerts presented by the Army Ground Forces Band, the Summer Salute.

The Army Ground Forces Band has a rich history. Originally the Fourth Infantry Regiment Band, it was formed on July 21, 1845. The Armed Forces Band is the only military band that has received a combat distinction, which it earned by fighting in the Mexican War. The band now serves by performing all around the country for events ranging from local festivals to inaugurations. Local performances are particularly special for the band, however.

“The Army Ground Forces Band arrived at Fort Bragg in the summer of 2011. Since that time, the band has endeavored to find ways to serve the area’s citizens and strengthen the ties between the Army and the surrounding communities. To further those goals, the band worked closely with the City of Fayetteville, Parks and Recreation and the Arts Council to plan this year’s inaugural outdoor concert series. The band’s first performance on June 20, was attended by several hundred people and honored firefighters, paramedics, first responders and members of the Red Cross for their service to the community. The biggest reward is being able to play for the members of our host community; the biggest challenge is getting Mother Nature to cooperate,” said Carol Eubanks, the public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army Forces Command Public Affairs Office.

This summer, the band will offer free concerts in Festival Park. While many may be skeptical about concerts presented by soldiers, these fears are wholly unfounded. These soldiers auditioned for the band, and many of them have trained at the nation’s leading music schools. A prime example of the skill level required for this band is the current commander and conductor, Captain Daniel Toven. He has a masters of music in conducting from Eastman School of Music, and numerous other accolades such as attending the Pierre Monteux School for Orchestra and Conductors.

One of the most incredible things about The Army Ground Forces Band is its mastery of multiple genres of music. With the Summer Salute the band is highlighting its flexibility by performing many different styles.

“Each concert promises to be a highly entertaining evening of music by some of the Army’s most talented soldier-musicians. The remaining concerts will feature the Loose Cannons rock band (Aug. 9), the Jazz Guardians (Aug 16) and the Concert Band (Aug. 30),” said Eubanks.

It is fun for the whole family, and has something for everyone to enjoy.

Festival Park is located in downtown Fayetteville at 225 Ray Ave. The concerts are free to the public and it is recommended that those attending bring a blanket or a lawn chair. The concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are scheduled on Aug 9, 16 and 30. For more information, visit the website www.forscom.army.mil/band or call 570-7223.

Photo: The Army Ground Forces Band is set to perform several concerts for the community with its Summer Salute Series.

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