Award Winning 36th Infantry Division Band Opens New Facility

By Spc. Christina Clardy, 36th ID Public Affairs
36th Infantry Division Band

News story photo
Photo credit: Spc. Christina Clardy
The 36th Infantry Division Band opened its newly rehabilitated rehearsal hall in a ceremony on Dec. 8, 2013 at building 24 on Camp Mabry, Texas. As part of the official opening, Maj. Gen. James K. "Red" Brown, Commander of the 36th Infantry Division; Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Lightsey, commander of the 36th Inf. Div. Band; Maj. Gen. Len Smith, Commander of the Texas Army National Guard, and Division Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson Early, cut the ribbon on the new and historic, state of the art recordi
The 36th Infantry Division Band, Texas Army National Guard cut the ribbon on their refurbished band hall during a ceremony on Dec. 8, 2013 at Camp Mabry, Texas.

Originally designed in 1918 to be a quick, cheap and temporary structure, building 24 is the only remaining survivor of six identical wooden hanger style constructs. The building has served as home to the 36th Inf. Div. Band for over two decades and needed an upgrade.

"Rehabilitation of building 24 began in November of 2011," said Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Lightsey, band commander during the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House. "Over the past two years, this building has been transformed into a state of the art band facility- it has recording facilities, several practice halls of various sizes, and secure storage for all of our equipment and instruments."

Key leaders and project managers took great effort to preserve and reuse vital resource fabrics from the building to include long-leaf pine siding, roof tresses and roof decking. The restoration team recreated the exterior to reflect the original window and door patterns, and buttresses. All of this work and effort produced one the most unique and historic rehabilitations undertaken by the Texas Military Forces to date.

This grand opening bridged the past and present. The main rehearsal concert hall was dedicated to the late Chief Warrant Officer Paul T. Phillippus, the first commander of the division band, who served from 1950 to 1983. A commemorative plaque made with unused remnants of building 24 was presented to his wife, Pam Phillippus, and his three sons who served as members of the Band: John, Ted and Steve.

"These facilities are great, and I think it will help with recruiting and retention in the future. It's hard to make a living with a musical career and being in this band is the perfect way to do it. You get paid, but also are afforded a lot of music opportunities you may not be outside the Army," said Steve Phillippus.

The modern facility has multiple rehearsal halls with advanced acoustic management controls and will allow the band to record and edit high quality media.

"The Army has changed into a modular concept, and so has the Band," said Lightsey. "We currently have eight Military Performance Teams, and in this facility we can train those performance teams concurrently."

Under the command of Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey Lightsey, the band is composed of more than 60 Soldiers serving in the Texas Army National Guard. The band is also made up of varying performing ensembles, including the award-winning Concert Band, Jazz Big Band, Jazz Combo, Rock Band, Latin Band, and Tejano Band, as well as smaller groups such as the Ceremonial Brass Band, Brass Quintet, Clarinet Choir, and Flute Trio.

The 36th Inf. Div. Band can be seen throughout the state of Texas and surrounding areas participating in military functions and ceremonies, patriotic holidays, parades and professional sporting events.

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