202nd Army Band presents “No Finer Calling: A Salute to America’s Soldiers”

Story by Sgt. 1st. Class Steve Baker, 202nd Army Band Unit Public Affairs Representative

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NOTE:  Each week kentuckyguard.com publishes stories by or about Kentucky National Guard unit public affairs historian representatives, also known as UPAHRs.  This is an additional duty taken on by a Soldier or Airmen with the intent of telling their unit’s story.  This is one such story …

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The 202nd Army Band of the Kentucky National Guard with support from the Frankfort Arts Foundation performed an Armed Forces Day tribute concert on Sunday, May 20th. The “No Finer Calling: A Salute to America’s Soldiers” concert featured patriotic, big band era and military march music for an enthusiastic audience at the Bradford Auditorium on the campus of Kentucky State University.

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Former members of the 202nd Army Band (from left to right): Richard Houghton, Steve Flood, Suzie Kinman, Sharon McGuire Belize, Courtney Spragens, Phil Johnston, Jason Green, John Whalen, Doris Corcoran, Doug Begley, Jim Barber, Linda Allen, Brian Gorrell, Michael Bonza, David Adwell, John Hoover, Dan Long and Ron Baker. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steve Baker, 202nd Army Band Unit Public Affairs Representative)

A highlight of this event was the 29 former 202nd band members returning and 19 of those members rehearsed or performed in this concert. Former members came as far away as Michigan and Florida to attend.  Retired Chief Warrant Officer John Hoover,  a former commander of the 202nd, performed as well as guest conducted.

“The reunion weekend was a wonderful chance to return to my military family,” said Retired Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Wallace. “The friendship and music were very, very special.”

Former members of the 202nd Army Band (from left to right): Richard Houghton, Steve Flood, Suzie Kinman, Sharon McGuire Belize, Courtney Spragens, Phil Johnston, Jason Green, John Whalen, Doris Corcoran, Doug Begley, Jim Barber, Linda Allen, Brian Gorrell, Michael Bonza, David Adwell, John Hoover, Dan Long and Ron Baker

As a special tribute to the 108 Kentuckians who have fallen in the Global War on Terrorism each soldiers name and rank were read followed by a single chime. The special tribute continued with the playing of Taps followed by the performance of “No Finer Calling.”

The Julie Giroux symphonic composition has three movements: Integrity March and Fanfare – “Integrity”, Far From Home – “Service Before Self” and Honor Above All – “Excellence In All We Do”. The band performed movements II and III.

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Sgt. Emily McAleesejergins narrates during “No Finer Calling.” (Story by Sgt. 1st. Class Steve Baker, 202nd Army Band Unit Public Affairs Representative)

Movement III contains the composer’s original combat prayer narration accompaniment during the latter part. Sgt. Emily McAleesejergins presented the emotional narration which reads as follows:

“Lord, God, My Saving Grace. In Your Hands My Soul I Place,

Dear Lord, God Forgive My Sins, Please Let My Faith Not Falter.

Lord, God, Please Grant Me Strength. Let Your Spirit Flow Through Mine.

Dear Lord, God. Let Wisdom Reign and Courage Guide My Journey.

Oh Lord, God. The King of Kings. Armor Born of Love Be Mine.

Dear Lord, God. When My Days End Let Heaven’s Light Shine On Me.”

It is the hope and prayer of the 202nd that all family members, veterans and active duty military personnel finds peace and continue to honor the memories of our fallen comrades. It is our honor to musically “voice” those who cannot.

“I have never been so proud of the soldiers of the 202nd Army Band as I was Armed Forces weekend,” said 1st Sgt. Jim Wallace. “They supported multiple missions, honored fallen comrades and celebrated enduring friendships with former unit members. The spirit and morale of these soldiers is inspiring.”

Interested in joining up?

The 202nd is actively recruiting now and looking for trombonists, euphonium, French horn, oboe and keyboard performers. It’s a great opportunity for a young person to serve his or her country, get world class training and have college costs covered.

For additional information about the 202nd Army Band please contact Sgt. 1st Class Angela Wilkins, 502-607-5331 or email her at angela.wilkins@us.army.mil.

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