Army Band Offers Musical Tribute To Independence Day

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The 108th Army Band has roused their audience with military marches at their annual concert at the Pine Cultural Center for many years.

But Sunday night will be the last chance for two years to hear and see the citizen soldiers play contemporary songs and patriotic song.

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The 108th Army Band gives an annual free concert at the Pine Cultural Center in Pine. They return at 7 p.m. Sunday evening with a program of nostalgic and patriotic music.

Next summer the band will replace the band stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas and will not be returning to Pine until 2008.

"The band supports troop morale and are the Army's ambassadors to the public," said National Guard Commander Anthony Gonzales.

"Replacing the band at Fort Bliss is one of the requirements that we must fulfill before we can be deployed overseas as a band," said Master of Ceremonies, Staff Sgt. Jim Iversen.

Their absence will make the concert that has become something of an area Fourth of July tradition all that much more of a draw.

The first part of this year's program will be a medley of Harold Arlen songs -- "Stormy Weather," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "That Old Black Magic," and "Get Happy."

"It's a really neat set that is full of memories," Iversen said.

A six-piece breakout brass group will play some ragtime songs in the middle of the program.

Sax soloist, Kevin Feekan is a master's performance student at Arizona State University in addition to being a specialist with the National Guard.

Staff Sgt. Cindy Martorano will sing "You Raise Me Up."

"Whatever she sings is in my mind for about the next three days," Iversen said.

The concert ends with a patriotic mix of songs chosen in tribute to Independence Day.

"God Bless the U.S.A." will be sung by Staff Sgt. Therese Kerby.

Full-time occupations of the current 45 band members vary. Gonzales works for the post office.

"A number of us are school music teachers. There are three or four correctional officers," he said.

The musicians are joined together by their love of music and desire to serve their country.

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