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"The Pride of Fort Sill!" Has a New Home
By SSG Erik Winters
77th Army Band
Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Erik Winters
The 77th Army Band moved across the street to Building 1721 where they will continue to make music and prepare for performances. The band completed their move March 1.
“I tell people that they’re moving us into the stables, but you could hardly ask for a better building to support our operations,” said SFC Cryer. He went on to explain that building 1721, as well as the current Post Office building, were both horse stables for the horse drawn artillery in use at Fort Sill when they were built in the early 1900’s. “They didn’t leave it on our building, but if you look at the back of the Post Office you can see where they left the jib, the crane they used to pull hay up into the rafters for the horses.”
Over the years, the horse stables were converted in to a service club with a 5,000 square foot Ballroom and stage, which will become the main rehearsal hall, and a series of small offices, just the right size for individual practice rooms. “It's as if over the past hundred years the building evolved in to an ideal band training facility, so this is not an expensive move for the Army. In this time of fiscal austerity, this is a winning situation for everybody. It's a perfect location and I'm sure the Lawton-Fort Sill retirement community will enjoy seeing a military band practicing their marching drill when they go to shop at the commissary. We hope that they will hang out and watch us for a while,” SFC Cryer concluded.
The Band Commander, Warrant Officer One Matthew David, further emphasized the ideal nature of the building. “It's not state of the art like the 2nd Infantry Division Band in Korea, but it meets and exceeds the needs of the 77th Army Band. The 25th Infantry Division Band still works in two old warehouses filled with asbestos that they moved into during the late 1970’s, and no renovations can happen without a special permit.” Mr. David went on to compare the Band’s old building to the new facility. “Music rehearsal rooms need a tall ceiling, especially for the low frequency instruments which have long sound waves and need a lot of space to fully resonate, such as the low brass and bass guitars. The old building had low ceilings which were not acoustically sound and the room was too small for music rehearsals.”
The new building also provides each musical group within the band its own rehearsal space, including a whole wing for “Costello's Own. This way they can practice their bagpipes inside and not have to worry about disturbing other music groups or office work. The bagpipes are a very loud instrument,” said Mr. David. “Without a whole wing to themselves, they would do as they did before, go outside and practice.”
The future of building 922 has not been determined.