440th Army Band plays Tryons Rogers Park tomorrow

Published 12:33 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The 440th Army Band will present a free concert in Tryons Rogers Park tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

The concert, under the baton of Warrant Officer 1 Brent M. Harvey, will feature an abundance of popular and patriotic standards. In case of rain, the concert will be held at the Tryon Elementary School auditorium.

The 440th Army Band has served as the states National Guard Band under several designations since the early 1900s.&bsp; The band was activated in World War II as the 30th Infantry Division Band along with the rest of the North Carolina National Guard as the Old Hickory Division. The band served with distinction, landing on the beach at Normandy and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, for which the band carries honors awarded by France and Belgium.

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The band was redesignated the 440th Army Band in 1973. The group performs for troops and their families and for the citizens of North Carolina at ceremonies, public concerts, and parades.

The group has performed two concert tours in the Virgin Islands, and toured Guatemala, Morocco, Costa Rica, and Italy. Since September 11, 2001, the unit has performed more than 400 ceremonies for deploying and returning North Carolina National Guardsmen and their families.

The band has earned numerous awards including Outstanding North Carolina National Guard unit and has earned the Eisenhower trophy three times as an outstanding Army unit. &bsp;

The 440th currently has 43 members and is commanded by Warrant Officer 1 Brent M. Harvey who in civilian life is a professor of music at Winston-Salem State University and also teaches at Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, N.C. The band’s members are citizen soldiers who in civilian life are college students, educators, business men and women and professional people.

The mission of Army Bands has changed over the past decade. The need for smaller units with flexibility and variety in use developed a modular structure within Army bands. The 440th Army Band’s missions support the following Music Performance Teams (MPTs).

Concert band: All members participate in the concert band.&bsp; A typical pops concert by the concert band is an hour in length and consists of military marches, contemporary music, classical or traditional music, and patriotic music. Hosts include small towns, large towns, battlefields or memorials such as the Battleship North Carolina, and special festivals or celebrations.

Examples of recent hosts include: Wilmington 4th of July event, Blowing Rock Park, Stokes County Park Amphitheatre, Tryon Palace, Odell Williams Auditorium in Supply and numerous V.A. hospitals throughout the state. The 440th also backfills for deployed active duty bands, as in 2006 for the 10th Mountain Division Band at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Marching band: All members perform in the marching band. Typical events include parades for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, and the Wilmington Azalea Festival.

Jazz Patriots: This 18-piece stage band plays jazz and big band music ranging from the Glenn Miller/Benny Goodman era to modern charts. The Jazz Patriots are capable of playing a stand-alone concert but typically play following the concert band for a combined 1 to two hour concert.

Minutemen: This six-piece band plays a wide variety of music from old-time rock and roll to beach music to country and more. The group does both stand-alone concerts for festivals and special celebrations to concerts with the concert band and Jazz Patriots.

Liberty Brass: This brass quintet performs for various ceremonies to include dedications, deployments and graduations. The group has also added to regular concerts by performing colorful renditions of popular tunes.

Guardsmen: This all male vocal ensemble is a new addition to the 440th band’s performance teams. At present, it consists of five members who sing various patriotic songs to include a special arrangement of the National Anthem.

Freedom Four: This group of volunteers started a saxophone quartet in 2009 that has added&bsp; another dimension to the band’s mission readiness. Yes, just four saxophones can provide appropriate music for ceremonies and dedications as well as combined performances with the concert band.

For further information, contact either Crys Armbrust or Meg Rogers at 828-859-6655.