Rainy weather does not stop summer concert performance
By Lisa R. Rhodes
The concert, which also featured the Soldiers' Chorus, was the final performance of the Army Field Band's annual Summer Concert Series at Fort Meade.
The two-hour concert was scheduled to take place at Constitution Park and include all four components of the Army Field Band including the Jazz Ambassadors and Concert Band. In addition, the final program is always topped off with Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" accompanied by cannon fire, a highlight of the annual series.
But an earlier downpour of rain forced the concert to be held indoors without the Jazz Ambassadors, Concert Band and Tchaikovsky.
"Sometimes, when given lemons, you make lemonade," said Col. Timothy J. Holtan, commander of the Army Field band, during an intermission.
The concert began with the Soldiers' Chorus performing selections from "Les Misérables," as well as "Let Freedom Ring," a patriotic song.
The concert was the final performance of Sgt. Maj. Janet Hjelmgren, a soprano with the chorus for 28 years, who received a hug and a commander's coin from Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein during the program.
The Volunteers carried the remainder of the concert by performing a wide range of songs including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," made popular by Diana Ross; "You Make Loving Fun," by Fleetwood Mac; and a soulful rendition of "Think" by Aretha Franklin.
In his brief remarks before the event, Rothstein thanked the audience for attending and credited the garrison and Army Field Band for ensuring that the concert was held.
"It's all about Team Meade and what we're able to do," Rothstein said.
The colonel also welcomed several special guests, including Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region/Military District of Washington; Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment; and Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, deputy commander, U.S. Cyber Command.
The Volunteers led the audience in hand-clapping during some of their numbers and received numerous standing ovations.
Several children ran up and down the aisles of the ballroom and some danced to the music of The Volunteers.
Before the end of the concert, Rothstein presented Holtan with a plaque of appreciation and a plaque commemorating the Army Field's Band's 65th Diamond Anniversary in 2011. The plaque was not given last year because a performance was canceled due to Hurricane Irene.
Holtan acknowledged deployed service members in harm's way, as well as the veterans in the audience who have sacrificed to keep America safe.
The concert ended with a salute to all of the armed forces and renditions of "God Bless America" and "God Bless the USA," a hit song by country singer Lee Greenwood.
"As usual, they were outstanding, We're never disappointed," said Roberta Levine, wife of retired Sgt. Joe Levine, who served as a clarinetist with the Army Field Band from 1963 to 1966.
The couple traveled from Lansing, Mich., to attend the concert. Levine said that despite the bad weather, a weak economy and a nation at war, the Army Field Band is always an inspiration.
"When you come to something like this," she said, "you can't leave without being uplifted."
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