“We are very excited for the opportunity to share this musical event with the community,” said James Popejoy, professor of music and director of bands at UND.
“The musicians who perform with The Army Field Band are among the finest in the world,” said Popejoy, who has been invited to guest-conduct a featured work with the group.
Founded in 1946, The U.S. Army Field Band is known as “The Musical Ambassadors of the Army.” The Band travels thousands of miles each year to perform for audiences nationally and abroad.
Two of the Field Band’s four ensembles will perform at the Oct. 24 concert: the Concert Band — a 65-member instrumental ensemble — and the Soldiers’ Chorus. With 29 members, the Chorus consists of singers with diverse musical backgrounds ranging from opera to vocal coaching.
The Band and Chorus are also active educators through the many music clinics they conduct at high schools and universities throughout the country. Members of these ensembles share their experience and expertise with nearly 2,500 student musicians a year.
“It is a way to connect the Army to the American people,” said Col. Timothy Holtan, a native of Bismarck, N.D., and commander of The U.S. Army Field Band.
The band plays a variety of musical genres, including classical, contemporary, Broadway vocal and patriotic.
“We attempt to perform music that effectively relates to our audience,” Holtan said. “A favorite piece is the Armed Services Medley. It always seems to get a positive reaction from audiences.”
The Armed Services Medley is a combination of The Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army songs.
Band members are professional musicians who go through a competitive audition process. For one position, there could be 70-80 applications that feature recordings of a musician’s work. Only a select few are given the chance to audition in person.
In the UND classroom:
In addition to the Wednesday evening concert, UND students will have the opportunity to work with members of the Army Field Band during their visit. Col. Holtan will conduct an open rehearsal with the UND Wind Ensemble Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The event is sponsored by the UND Music Department, the Grand Forks Herald and the Chester Fritz Auditorium.
The performance is free but requires a ticket. Get your free tickets by contacting the Grand Forks Herald, 701.780.1100.
James Popejoy, professor
Director of Bands
UND Music Department
Leigh Kelly, student writer
UND Office of University Relations