USAREUR Band Celebrates July 4th All Over Europe

By SPC Blake Helander
USAREUR Band and Chorus

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US Ambassador to Finland Marilyn Ware visits with members of the USAREUR Brass Quintet before their performance at Helsinki's Finlandia Hall
The July 4th holiday was a busy time performing and traveling for the several small musical ensembles of the US Army Europe Band and Chorus. The USAREUR Brass Quintets, the Rhein River Ramblers Dixieland Band, the Soldier's Chorus and the "Little Big Band" performed musical missions for US Embassies and Consulates throughout Europe.

One of the USAREUR Brass Quintets, led by Staff Sergeant Dave Martinez flew to Finland at the request of Ambassador Marilyn Ware of the US Embassy in Helsinki. The quintet performed an outdoor concert in Helsinki's Esplanade in addition to the Ambassador's 4th of July Celebration at Finlandia Hall. Almost two thousand dignitaries attended the reception and enjoyed live American jazz and patriotic music. Members of the Finnish military band invited the USAREUR Brass Quintet on a short cruise on the Baltic Sea to the island of Suomenlinna, home of the famous 18th century sea fortress. There, members of the group had a private tour of the island and learned about Finnish military history.

The unit's other brass quintet, led by Sergeant First Class Michael Schucker, went to Vienna, Austria for three performances to support the US Embassy. Horn player Specialist Candace Dlugosch enjoyed her first trip to Vienna. She remarked, "I had a great time. Our group was really busy with rehearsals, sound checks and performances, but we still found time to visit the Mozart House." The Brass Quintet performed for a ceremony honoring America as well as an evening cocktail party attended by hundreds of dignitaries.

The "Little Big Band" is an eight-piece group with horns, rhythm section, and vocals known for high-energy shows. Its versatile repertoire includes the soul hits of Tower of Power, Stevie Wondor, and Earth, Wind and Fire, as well as Big Band standards. The Little Big Band played two concerts for the US Ambassador to France at his residence in Paris. The members provided musical support for a military ceremony during the day as well as entertainment for a black-tie affair attended by hundreds of international dignitaries. Between missions, members managed to squeeze in some Paris sightseeing.

The Rhein River Ramblers Dixieland Band returned to Poland for the third straight year to perform in the cities of Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Krakow. This popular ensemble is one of the most requested groups in the USAREUR Band and tours Europe often. The group played classic Americana for hundreds of US Government officials and dignitaries.

While the instrumental groups were scattered around Europe, the USAREUR Soldiers' Chorus stayed behind in Germany to entertain civilians and dignitaries for two July 4th events. The Chorus performed for over one thousand Soldiers and their Families at an outdoor picnic at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg. The Chorus' show featues music by the rock band Queen, hits of the 70s and 80s, as well as country and soul music. Also, the Chorus was invited by the Commander of US Army Europe, General David D. McKiernan to perform at his residence on July 6th.

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