The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”
There really is no bad time to visit Washington, DC, because there is always something going on: the Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring; summer’s Fourth of July fireworks at the Washington Monument; Octoberfest and Halloween events in the fall; holiday events, Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day festivities in the winter. And no matter what time of year you plan your visit, a performance by The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” should be on your itinerary.
The Army’s premier musical organization is based at Historic Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, and many of the 250 superior instrumentalists and vocalists that comprise “Pershing’s Own” 11 musical elements have studied at the most prestigious music schools and conservatories in the country. They perform symphonic band and orchestra classics as well as blues, jazz, big band, Broadway, rock, country and patriotic favorites. Free concerts are presented throughout the year in venues ranging from their home stage inside Fort Myer’s Brucker Hall, DC’s DAR Constitution Hall and the Kennedy Center, to suburban venues like The Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland and Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia, as well as in and around museums and monuments throughout the Metro area.
From April through July, “Pershing’s Own” performs Twilight Tattoo most Wednesday evenings on Fort Myer. Showcasing costumed re-enactors, specialty units, and the popular music of today, the 1-hour military pageant tells the history of the U.S. Army in an outdoor setting. Summer guests to the District can also bring an evening picnic and enjoy elements of the Army Band perform on the West Side of the U.S. Capitol for the band’s weekly Sunsets with a Soundtrack concerts. At summer’s end, the 1812 Overture Concert is not to be missed. Performed at the Sylvan Theatre located at the base of the Washington Monument, it is a DC summer concert staple featuring several performing elements of The U.S. Army Band, culminating with the climactic ending of the 1812 Overture highlighted by live cannon-fire from the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3rd Infantry Division (The Old Guard).
Fall heralds the start of the Army Band’s concert series at Brucker Hall, the Army Band’s headquarters and location of its 375-seat concert hall. Visit usarmyband.com for links to live concert web streams and archival videos of these great musicians in indoor performances. November brings Veterans Day observances, with multiple uplifting concerts at venues throughout the area. This time of year is also the start of student tours that arrive at the Army Band. From September through May, many teachers schedule their student groups to visit Brucker Hall during the day, to experience a video presentation about the band, sit in on open rehearsals and talk with musicians and conductors. Depending on the musical mission load, “Pershing’s Own” can create a special concert event, for groups of 250 or more, as these soldiers do love to inspire, educate and entertain.
December is especially busy for “Pershing’s Own” kicking off the holiday season with the dazzling American Holiday Festival at DAR Constitution Hall, followed by the Army Blues performing A Stan Kenton Christmas and the Duke Ellington Nutcracker, plus concerts by the Army Chorus, Army Voices, and other chamber groups throughout the DC-area. In the winter months, The Army Band hosts several annual instrumental workshops at Brucker Hall: The Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop, the American Trombone Workshop, and a Strings Workshop where specialists, educators, and musicians from around the world gather together for a several days of recitals, masterclasses, bring-your-instrument tutorials, and concerts.
All Army Band concerts are free and open to the public; however, some of their larger off-site concerts require free tickets. Visit usarmyband.com to view the events calendar. For information on how to schedule a group visit, contact The United States Army Band Operations Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel good about the flag; attend a performance by The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”