U.S. Army Field Band
The Field Band in its present form was founded in 1946 under orders "to organize a band that will carry into the grassroots of our country the story of our magnificent army, its glorious traditions and achievements, and . . . the great symbol of American manhood - the ground soldier." These days, under the direction of colonel Finley R. Hamilton of Richmond, Kentucky, the repertoire of the Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus extends far beyond the national anthem and other patriotic hymns. Along with "America the Beautiful" and "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," they will perform Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band," Ellington and Strayhorn's "It Don't Mean a Thing," and even Manilow's "Let Freedom Ring."
Still, the core of their repertoire is drawn from America's rich repertoire of military marches, including Sousa's immortal "The Stars and Stripes Forever," "The Washington Post," and "The Gallant Seventh." And, naturally, they play a medley of the hymns of all the armed services - although they represent the army, they are also the musical ambassadors of the nation.
The Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus perform at Hill Auditorium on Friday, July 2.
[Originally published in July, 2004.]