Annual training sets tempo for new Army band members

NOTE: As often as we can 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 ….

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Baker, 202nd Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative

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Soldiers of the 202nd Army Band perform as part of the unit’s annual training in Somerset, Ky., July 11, 2013. The unit spent their two-week training period performing a variety of concerts in south central Kentucky. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Baker)

SOMERSET, Ky. — The 202nd Army Band of the Kentucky National Guard has completed their Annual Training which was held from June 29 – July 13. The band was based out of Somerset, KY. and consisted of several performances and continual musical training for the various Musical Performance Teams (MPT).

The 202nd’s mission is to provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations to instill in our forces the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and to promote our national interests at home and abroad. While past ATs have taken the band around the country, like last year to Fort Eustis, Va., staying close to home was a nice change for members of the unit, including several new Soldiers on their first annual training.

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Members of the 202nd Army Band perform in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse in Stanford, Ky., July9, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Baker)

“The 2013 AT provided an opportunity to get to know all the members of the unit,” said Spc. Anthony Nolan.  “I wholeheartedly believe that this is a phenomenal unit with a considerable amount of talent within.”

Spc. Ariel Supinger enjoyed her first AT, and said every member of the unit gave her a warm welcome.  Supinger also had the opportunity to learn from other Soldiers who are in the musical field outside of uniform.

“Quite a few people in the unit are band directors which is what I am in college training to be so I get to hear a lot about it which is nice.” Supinger said.

“I always liked the idea of the military, but didn’t know they had a MOS that I would be happy in until I heard about the band. The unit plays because it’s something they love to do.”

“My experience at this year’s AT was very positive,” said Spc. Catherine Strobel. “It was refreshing to be able to eliminate a lot of distractions and to focus on making music.”

“I am encouraged and inspired by the level of accountability and camaraderie we share and feel privileged to be apart of such a special group.”

The band’s current Musical Performance Teams are:

  • The Concert Band
  • The Marching Band
  • The Rock Band which is known by the name “Fallout” and consists of 6 musicians
  • The Woodwind Quintet
  • The Brass Quintet
  • The Brass Quartet
  • The Jazz Combo which consists of 4 musicians
  • The Ceremonial Ensemble which consists of 14 members and is able to cover military ceremonial missions.

The musical mission performances consisted of:

  • July 5th at the St. Augustine Catholic Church in Lebanon, KY. The Concert Band MPT performed a Patriotic program followed by a reception at “the old Courthouse”.
  • July 9th at the Courthouse Square in Stanford, KY. The Concert Band MPT performed a Patriotic program.
  • July 11th the Rock Band “Fallout”, Jazz Combo and Dixieland MPTs perform at the Center For Rural Development in Somerset, KY.
  • July 12th at Miller Park in Campbellsville, KY. The Concert Band MPT performed a Patriotic program.
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Soldiers of the 202nd Army Band perform as part of the unit’s annual training in Stanford, Ky., July 9, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Baker)

“Every performance by the full band was filled with artistic integrity, dedication to our art form and a desire to please our audiences,” said Nolan.

The 202nd’s leadership found the two weeks to be a successful test for the unit to find new ways of performing their jobs and operating as Soldiers.

“I felt the unit cooperated well when given challenging circumstances and leadership opportunities,” said 1st Sgt. Chris Gillstrap. “I wanted to share a lot more knowledge with the Soldiers but found that time was a larger obstacle than expected. I feel that the band is steadily changing their focus to developing innovative ways to entertain their audience. Overall, annual training was an enjoyable opportunity to plant new ideas and develop a legacy for current and future Soldiers.”

The 202nd Army Band is actively recruiting now and looking for a trombone, euphonium, saxophone and keyboard players.  It’s a great opportunity for a young person to serve their country, get world class training, have college tuition covered and play music.

For additional information please contact Sgt. 1st Class Angela Wilkins at 502-607-5331.

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