Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs teams up with the Army Field Band

By Jonathan Agee
The United States Army Field Band

News story photo
Photo credit: Master Sgt. Robert McIver
Thomas R. Lamont, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, speaks about the importance of keeping the American people connected with its Army during an Army Field Band performance March 3 in Springfield, Ill.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- On Saturday evening Thomas R. Lamont, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), joined The United States Army Field Band for a concert at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Lamont warmly welcomed the audience to the performance and gave the Field Band a rousing introduction. During his remarks, Lamont spoke eloquently of the primary importance of keeping the American public connected with its Army, and of how the Army Field Band does an outstanding job of this through their mission of performing concerts in large cities and small towns all across the country.

“I encouraged the audience to take pride in the high quality of men and women that have volunteered to serve our nation in a time of war,” said Lamont. “That the nation will never be able to thank them enough for the sacrifices that they and their families have made.”

The Soldiers of the Concert Band and Soldiers' Chorus were very moved by Lamont's remarks, and his praise of the Army Field Band, said Sgt. Maj. Daniel Hopkins, Army Field Band tenor and bass group leader for the Soldiers' Chorus. “One of our Soldiers had the opportunity to speak informally with Mr. Lamont after the concert, and reported that he was very enthusiastic in his appreciation of the concert and his admiration of the band and chorus.”

The concert featured various musical arrangements including “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” by John Philip Sousa, “Casey at the Bat” by Randol Alan Bass, and of course the crowd favorite “Armed Forces Salute” which is a medley of all the armed forces service songs.

“As the veterans in the audience stood while their service's song was played and joined in singing along, you could feel their pride,” said Lamont. “Having the audience connect with the performers in an emotional way is always a good thing. For some of the veterans in the audience it may have been over 40 years since they last sang their service's song while being accompanied by a military band.”

For the Soldiers of the Army Field Band, having Lamont in attendance was an honor and something they will remember for a long time to come. “I will always remember, when finally meeting Mr. Lamont in person, how very impressed I was with his dignified manner, his congenial and approachable personality, and his thorough professionalism,” said Hopkins. “Also, his depth of understanding of our mission, his acknowledgement and appreciation of the Field Band's excellence, and his enthusiastic response to our concert was an inspiration to all of us.”

The concert is one of 29 performances scheduled throughout the South-Central U.S. as part of the Army Field Band’s Spring Tour 2012. The Musical Ambassadors of the Army travel more than 100 days a year bringing the Army Story to the American people nationally and internationally as directed by the Department of the Army.

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