USAREUR Band and Chorus completes "Sounds of America" tour of Eastern Europe

By Spc. Victoria Chamberlin
U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus

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Photo credit: © Gunter Pusch / HBF
Sembach, Germany 12 March, 2015 – The U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) Band and Chorus completed a 10 day tour of Eastern Europe in cooperation with the United States Department of State. Spanning five countries, the USAREUR Band and Chorus performed a variety of musical styles reflecting the “Sounds of America,” including jazz, ragtime, American military march favorites, and popular music from the Soldiers’ Chorus.

The musicians loaded an equipment truck and two coach buses and set off for their first destination, Plzen, Czech Republic. Though beautiful classical cities are abundant in Europe, Plzen was a unique experience for the musicians. The U.S. Army’s Second Infantry Division (2ID) liberated Plzen in 1945, where a museum dedicated to General George S. Patton was created to commemorate the occasion. Spc. Peter Schiller, trumpet player in the USAREUR Band described his unique experience after touring the museum where the band performed. “It was amazing to see pictures of the 2ID band performing in Republic Square at the liberation in 1945. Having previously served with the 2ID Band in Korea, it was like retracing the unit history, and a very special experience.”

Next, the band headed to Opole, Poland to perform in the beautiful Józef Elsner’s Opole Philharmonic Hall offering astounding aesthetics. In cooperation with the United States Consulate in Krackow, the band performed to a wonderful and enthusiastic audience. Following the performance, they traveled to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and Memorial. “It was a very intense and moving experience. Physically witnessing such a sacred place helped us reflect on the value of humanity, and music.” Spc. Joseph Agacinski, bassoonist.

Performances in Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava were next on the tour, where the band and chorus performed for many distinguished personnel including the American Ambassador to Austria, Ms. Alexa Wesner at the beautiful Heeresgeschichtliches Museum of Military History in Vienna.

A large part of the Army Music mission is to foster the support of our citizens, and promote our national interests at home and abroad. The USAREUR Band and Chorus accomplished this mission through the common language of music.

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