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73RD ARMY BAND
 ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS -

History

Summary

The 73rd Army Band was organized and federally recognized 18 September 1974 on St Croix, United States Virgin Islands, as the former 666th Army Band under the Commander Warrant Officer One Winston Adams.

The U. S. Virgin Islands consists of the four islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island.

On 1 Aug 1978, the 666th Army Band unit relocated to the island of St. Thomas.
The band’s first Annual Training was in Washington, DC with the Washington, DC National Guard Band. The Steel Band Ensemble was formed in 1977 to perform at a National Guard Convention in St. Louis, MO. In 1985, the Calypso Combo formed during Annual Training at Fort McCoy, WI.

The 73rd Army Band travels to perform at community events throughout the three major islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix). Presently, the band consists of 24 enlisted members and one officer. The band can perform as a Calypso (Reggae) Combo, Steel pan ensemble, Jazz Combo and Concert or Marching band.

The 73rd Army Band of the Virgin Islands National Guard has performed their Annual Training at Camp Blanding, FL, Camp Shelby, MI, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, The Army School of Music, Little Creek, VA, Fort Benning, GA, Fort Gordon and Ft. Stewart, GA and Fort AP Hill, VA.

The former 666th also performed Annual Training in such Caribbean countries as: Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, and the Bahamas. Internationally, the former 666th has represented themselves well in:


Central America -- Chigalta, Nicaragua
Fort Clayton, Panama
South America -- Santiago, Chile
Santa Cruz and La Paz, Bolivia
Africa -- Fes, Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco

In the summer of 2012, (June 24-30) the 73rd had joint Annual Training with the 287th Army Band in Delaware and performed before audiences at the Lewes Public Library and Bethany Beach Boardwalk. During the week 1-8 July, the 73rd combined with the 257th Army Band of Washington, DC and performed at Woodbridge, Reston and Manassas, VA, National Harbor in Ft. Washington, MD, the World War II Memorial and marched the National Parade on July 4th in Washington, DC. The Commander, CW3 Juan Harrigan and Acting First Sergeant, SFC Monet Davis, made history by serving as commander and Drum Major for this event.

Descriptive facts on specialty components of the 73rd Army Band (VING):

1. Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music which originated in the British and French colonial islands of the Caribbean at about the start of the 20th century. The roots of the genre lay in the arrival of African slaves, who, not being allowed to speak with each other, communicated through song. Calypsonians pushed the boundaries of free speech as their lyrics spread news of any topic relevant to island life, including speaking out against political corruption. Calypso further evolved into a way of spreading news about politicians and public figures who often debated the content of each song. Many islanders considered these songs the most reliable news source.

Early forms of calypso were also heavily influenced by jazz such as the extempo melody in which calypsonians create impromptu lyrics, commenting socially or insulting each other. Elements of calypso have also been incorporated in jazz to form calypso jazz.

2. Steelpans symbolize the culture of the English speaking Caribbean islands. The year of 1938 is considered as the birth of the steel drum. The art form began on the island of Trinidad. Pan music developed rapidly and by 1941 many steel bands playing in the Caribbean became popular amongst U.S. soldiers based on the naval bases. Today, steel pans are played throughout the world.

The African population used hand drums for their dances and ceremonies and to communicate with each other. Hand drums were also used for celebrations and for fighting. In Trinidad and Tobago, the use of drums in street parades was outlawed in 1883, since the British feared the passing of secret messages by means of drumming. The first true steel pan used by musicians was an empty biscuit (cracker) container or paint can. The early steel pans had only a handful of notes. Soon drummers discovered that bulges of different sizes in the bottom of a tin could produce sounds of various pitches. Originally, steel pans were convex; however, the pursuit of a wider range of notes produced the development of a concave instrument. Its concave form is made from a steel 55 gallon oil drum acquired from oil refineries and naval yards.

In a steel band, the melodies are played on a tenor pan, which can play a complete low pitch scale. The bands also have double tenor pans, a pair of lower pitch drums in which a lower pitch scale is divided between the two drums. Treble and harmonic drums are also featured. Produced by new refined crafting techniques, modern steel bands have ten different drums, from tenor to the Nine-drum Bass, which produce a vast tonal range. This tonal range of modern steel bands includes several octaves that emulate those available in a grand piano.

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Former band commanders: WOC Austin Venzen , WO1 Juan Figueroa, WO1 Lorenzo Green, WO2 Albert Mercer and CW2 Lawrence Benjamin, CW4 Juan Harrigan. Presently, the unit commander is WO1 Kevre Hendricks

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Distinctive Unit Insignia