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The Army Ground Forces Band kicked off its Summer Concert Series beginning May 29 at Festival Park. The series of five concerts will run from May through August. All shows are free and open to the public.

“We are the musical ambassadors of U.S. Army Forces Command, the largest [command] in the Army,” said Capt. Dae Kim, who serves as the commander and conductor of the Army Ground Forces Band, headquartered at Fort Bragg.

“We like to get out in the community,” Kim said. “Not only to tell the Army story but to put a face on the soldiers of Army Forces Command.”

The 54 soldiers assigned to the Army Ground Forces Band are a deployable unit as part of FORSCOM Headquarters, and must maintain their soldier skills such as physical fitness, weapons qualification and proficiency in other common troop tasks. 

They are also talented musicians, Kim explained. 

“Most play an instrument. Many have advanced degrees with many having experience in some of the finest music schools and conservatories across the country,” he said.

He is an accomplished clarinetist. Before joining the Army, Kim graduated Officer Candidate School as a Distinguished Military Graduate. All soldiers in the unit “went through a rigorous audition process” before being selected for the Army Ground Forces Band, which is considered one of the top three in the Army.

For some performances, the Concert Band showcases the talent of most of the unit. To maximize their talent and provide as many shows as possible (on average 225 performances a year), the entire unit can be broken down into seven smaller ensembles.

The Summer Concert Series performances feature the Concert Band, which maintains a large and varied repertoire of traditional and contemporary pieces. Other ensembles include the Ceremonial Band, which performs in parades and ceremonies; the Loose Cannons, a rock/pop band with some R&B, Hip Hop and Country; the Dixieland Band; and multiple Jazz combos. 

The unit also has Woodwind and Brass Quintets which perform and specialize in crafting clinics and classes for high school and college music students, “bringing years of experience and musical knowledge to young musicians while showcasing Army professionalism” according to the unit’s website.

Summer Concert Series

• 240th Army Birthday, June 12, 7 p.m. at Festival Park

“Celebration of the Army’s history, we tell the Army story through music,” Kim said. “We want everyone to come out and help us celebrate their Army.” 

This is the concert not to miss, he said. The celebration will include cake.

• Dancing Under the Stars, June 26, 5 p.m. Hay Street 

This is the only concert in the series not held at Festival Park. A dance floor will be constructed in the middle of the street in front of the Arts Council, Kim said. The concert will include “something for everyone” with a variety of tunes ranging from ballroom to new classics. 

• Kid’s Night, August 14, 6 p.m. at Festival Park

“There will be a family friendly atmosphere,” Kim said, with a picnic area and interactive events targeted to ages 4 to 8. Children will be able to hear professional musicians talk about music and instruments and answer questions. Children will also be able to march along behind the drum major.

• End of Summer Blast, Aug. 28, 8:30 p.m. at Festival Park

This second annual end of summer blast will be in conjunction with the Arts Alliance/4th Friday/Fayetteville After 5. Kim said concert-goers can expect patriotic tunes as well as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the “1812 Overture” with a salute battery (live cannons) in the finale.

For more information visit armygroundforcesband.com or check their Facebook page for the latest information about concerts and full schedules.

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