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U.S. and Canada come together for the International Military Band Concert

  • Published
  • By Sgt William Brown
  • 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The International Military Band Concert has been a Washington tradition for almost 30 years, bringing musicians from all around the Pacific Northwest together.

"It’s a great experience getting to work with all these different bands," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Donna Morgan commander of the 56th Army I Corp Band. "While we are very similar and music is the universal language, we are also different, especially when talking about how each band does things so we learn a lot from each other." 
The bands were led by Master Warrant Officer Cheryl McHugh, 15th Field Artillery Regiment Band, Royal Canadian Army; Marine Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephanie Wire, the First Marine Division Band, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Donna Morgan, the 56th Army I Corps Band; Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Scott Pierson, the133th Washington Army National Guard Band, Capt. Rafael F. Toto-Quiñones, the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Brayden Wise, Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy and Lt. Bruce Mansfield, Navy Band Northwest.
The service members performed a variety of compositions including “O’ Canada”, “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, “Rhapsody for Flute” by Stephen Bulla and “Boys of the Old Brigade” by William Paris Chambers.

“Each conductor was able to pick their own pieces. The styles varied drastically from each other but they flowed together,” said Army Sgt. Kristin Almond who plays clarinet for the I Corp Band. 

Canadian Maj. Jim Tempest, an International Military Band Concert founding member and Canadian Armed Forces senior director of music provided narration, presenting facts about each piece before it was played. 

Tempest made it clear through his presentation that each song had a story to tell. “Tribute 1985” by Mark Camphouse, for example, was written to honor all American women who have served their country in the armed forces. “Hymn to the Fallen 1998” by John Williams that was written for the movie “Saving Private Ryan” and “Powerhouse” composed by Raymond Scott was originally not written for cartoons but was purchased by Warner Bros, Tempest said.

“’Powerhouse’ was a fun piece that really had a lot of elements involved,” said Almond. “The conductor really brought out the fun elements from the piece and her personality drew out the music from us and helped drive the piece.” 

The nearly 70 service members came together for a night of comradery and closed the night by playing each service’s respective song.
“This concert brought us all together,” said Almond, “regardless of the branch we serve (in), and even the country we live in. It gave us an opportunity to make music together.”