202nd Band participates in Great American Brass Band Festival

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

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 ….

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The 202nd Army Band performs during the Great American Brass Band Festival In Danville, Ky., June 9, 2012. (photo by Sgt. KJ McAleesejergins, Kentucky National Guard)

DANVILLE, Ky. — The 202nd Army Band once again performed for the 15th year at the Great American Brass Band Festival, June 9, in Danville, Ky. This perennial event features many world class performers from around the country.

Performers included bands from Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and Louisiana to name a few.  Solo performances included jazz trumpeter, Doc Severinsen of “The Tonight Show” fame.

The weekend’s theme was a special tribute to Vince DiMartino who is retiring as Centre College music professor and a longtime musical mastermind behind the Great American Brass Band Festival. This event routinely draws 30,000 + festival attendees annually and is considered by most a “must” attend event.

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The 202nd Army Band performs during the Great American Brass Band Festival In Danville, Ky., June 9, 2012. This year marks the 15th year the 202nd has participated in the event. (photo by Sgt. KJ McAleesejergins, Kentucky National Guard)

The performances from the 202nd included the parade event as well as a concert performance held at Weissiger Park. Musical repertoire included Patriotic, Broadway, Traditional and Military March music.

As eventful as the the festival was, the 202nd also had some sad moments. Sgt. Kevin Bowling, from Mt. Sterling, Ky., and Sgt. Dale McGuffin, from Franklin, Ky., performed for their final time with the band. These two longtime members have just retired each given more than 20 years of service to the Kentucky National Guard, the Army and to the nation.

‘I enjoyed getting to hear one of my favorite trumpet players of all time at the Great American Brass Band Festival, and performing my final concert with the 202nd Army Band,” said Bowling.  “Retiring after 21 years of service in the National Guard, I can’t think of a better way to spend my last day with the 202nd.”

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Sgt. Kevin Bowling pictured with Doc Severinsen of “Tonight Show” fame during the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Ky., June 9, 2012. (photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steve Baker, Kentucky National Guard)

Sharon McGuire Belisle, a former member traveled from Michigan for the event and stated “Words cannot describe how proud I am of the 202nd. Performing at the GABBF takes guts when you share the stage with musicians like Doc Severinsen. I proudly tell my high school band classmates that I was apart of the 202nd for 10 years. The bonds strengthen the band beyond simple definitions. Words fail me again.”

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 at 502-607-5331.

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