TRADOC Band Renews Summer Concert Series

By Senior Airman Jason J. Brown
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

News story photo
MAJ McKenzie leading the TRADOC Band at the start of the 80th season of Music Under the Stars.
FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- Under a warm spring twilight sky beside the sparkling James River, music filled the air at Ft. Eustis' Magnolia Park, Va. as the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band kicked off its annual Music Under the Stars concert series, June 7.

The concert was the first of 13 shows this season, which marks the 80th anniversary of the show. The institution is the longest running concert series in Hampton Roads, tracing its roots back to outdoor performances in 1932 at now-decommissioned Fort Monroe in nearby Hampton.

The musicians performed a wide variety of tunes for concertgoers, ranging from military band staples like "The Star-Spangled Banner," and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.," to modern pop and country hits, including Jason Aldean's "Don't You Wanna Stay," and even classic jazz, such as George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess."

Second Lt. Silas Huff, the band's executive officer, said the band wants to "appeal to everyone," carefully choosing music to cater to fans young and old.

"Each week will feature a different theme this year. One week, we'll bring out our jazz troupe; another week we'll have rock music; and another week, we'll do country," the lieutenant said. "We have a lot of talented folks and a lot of musical range, and we definitely have something for everybody.

"You may not see grandmom and granddad come out to the rock night, but you never know," Huff joked.

About 500 fans of all ages packed the sprawling glen at the park before the musician's stage. For many fans, Music Under the Stars is a tradition. Tabb residents Pat and Mary Madden have attended the shows since 1995, and said they plan to continue the tradition at Ft. Eustis.

"They picked a beautiful venue to have the show here," Mary said. "Lots of space, lots of shade and good views. They did a good job."

Maj. Scott McKenzie, the TRADOC Band commander and conductor, said the band hopes to continue the "rich tradition" of Music Under the Stars at Ft. Eustis. He said that the performances had grown synonymous with the gazebo near the Chesapeake Bay at Monroe, but hopes to expand the band's audience base at the command's new home.

"When the command decided to move to Eustis, the decision was made to bring the concert series here, as well. This is TRADOC's home, and this is our home," McKenzie said. "We have a beautiful venue here under the magnolia trees, and we hope to bring longtime fans and new fans alike out to our shows this season."

World War II veteran Dorothy "Smokie" Phillips, a longtime fan of the series, said McKenzie and his team will succeed in doing so.

"I've been coming to shows for more than 25 years, and I'll keep coming back," the Newport News resident said. "They've always played such great music. It doesn't matter where they have the show, because I'll go watch them anywhere. It's even better than I expected this year.

"Besides, it's even closer to where I live now," she added, laughing.

The Music Under the Stars concerts are scheduled at Fort Eustis every Thursday evening through August, and include patriotic music, marches, rock, salsa, country, jazz and Americana. The "Overture 1812,"
complete with cannons, closes the season.

Admission to the concerts is free, and free parking is available adjacent to Magnolia Park. When driving on the post, look for the blue Music Under the Stars signs along roadways to direct traffic to the park. Concert goers who do not have a Department of Defense identification card should arrive early with photo identification and proof of auto insurance and registration to secure a day pass.

To learn more about the concerts, or to sign up for the TRADOC Band's newsletter and concert announcements, visit www.tradocband.com or call 501-6944.

"Music Under the Stars" remaining 2012 Concert Schedule:

June 14: "Army Birthday Celebration"
June 21: "A Night in New Orleans"
June 28: "For Children of all Ages"
July 5: "Passing the Guidon"
July 12: 202nd Army National Guard Concert Band July 19: 202nd Army National Guard Rock Band July 26: "A Little Night Music"
Aug. 2: "Land That I Love"
Aug. 9: "Jazz Side of the Moon"
Aug. 16: "Tropical Rhythm"
Aug. 23: "This is Country Music"
Aug. 30: "Overture 1812" (Rain date for this concert is Sept. 6, 2012)

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