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(Enlarge) Members of the U.S. Army Field Band's Jazz Ambassadors entertain a Fort Meade audience during the Field Band's 2010 Summer Concert Series. The Concert Band and Soldiers' Chorus will kick off this summer's Army Field Band's concert series on Aug. 4 at Constitution Park. (File photo)

After a year of touring throughout the world performing for large audiences, the various ensembles of the U.S. Army Field Band always return home in the summer to entertain the Fort Meade community.

The Army Field Band's 2012 Summer Concert Series will feature four concerts performed on consecutive Saturdays in August beginning Aug. 4 with the Concert Band and Soldiers' Chorus, followed by the Jazz Ambassadors on Aug. 11 and The Volunteers on Aug. 18. The series concludes with a combined performance on Aug. 25.

"When you're on tour you get to perform for hundreds of thousands of Americans that you've never seen before and bring them a slice of music that, hopefully, they're very receptive to and haven't heard," said Sgt. 1st Class Erica Russo, an alto in the Soldiers' Chorus. "But when you're here, you get to perform for your family and your friends and the Fort Meade community."

The free, outdoor concerts will all begin at 7 p.m. at Constitution Park, opposite McGlachlin Parade Field off English Avenue.

To kick off the series, the Concert Band will be joined by the Field Band's vocal complement, the Soldiers' Chorus. The 65-member Concert Band, the largest and oldest ensemble in the Field Band, will perform a program of marches, overtures, popular music, patriotic selections, and instrumental and vocal solos with the 29-member mixed choral group.

The following weekend, the Jazz Ambassadors -- also called America's Big Band -- will take the stage to perform big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, vocals and patriotic selections.

"The Jazz Ambassadors have music that is so great for everybody," Russo said. "You'll have standards that some of the older people in the crowd might enjoy, but you have new arrangements that some of the young people might enjoy.

"Whether you're 2 years old or 72 years old, you're going to find something to get up and dance to."

The Field Band's six-piece pop-rock band, The Volunteers, will perform a blend of popular American music, including rock 'n' roll, standards, country, jazz and patriotic.

On the final Saturday in August, the ensembles will combine for one final performance to wrap up the series.

"This is rare," Russo said. "We definitely look forward to it. We work with so many great people but don't necessarily get to work together."

Since the concerts are performed outdoors, inclement weather may force officials to cancel shows. But the Field Band won't lose the entire series because of weather, Russo said. If the first three concerts are rained out, a final show will be performed Aug. 25 at McGill Training Center featuring The Volunteers.

Russo said members of the Field Band are excited to bring the entertainment directly to the Fort Meade community.

"I can't really think of a better way to end the summer than a concert every week by the Field Band," she said.

Army Field Band Summer Concert Series
* Aug. 4: Concert Band and Soldiers' Chorus
* Aug. 11: Jazz Ambassadors
* Aug. 18: The Volunteers
* Aug. 25: Combined performance

The free concerts begin at 7 p.m. at Constitution Park.

Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Grills, glass containers, alcoholic beverages and pets are prohibited.

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