Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Armed Forces Day is a day to pay tribute to the men and women who serve the United States Armed Forces.
President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.
This week, military music in the spotlight.
We get started with this CBS News report from earlier this year.
Before Miller joined the Army he was a music superstar. Under Miller’s direction, his original jazz orchestra produced 70 top ten singles, and 22 number one records in just four years.
Then in 1942, Miller decided to quit his life as a civilian and volunteer his musical talents to the war effort by joining the Army Air Forces. Because of his age, 38, and his glasses, he knew that he would not be drafted, and therefore obtained a commission in the AAF on November 23, 1942. By March of 1943, Miller was commanding a group of musicians that consistently performed live and made recordings of their swing tunes for active servicemen across the country.
Here’s a portion of a radio broadcast of Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band from March of 1944.
The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Glenn Miller’s dance band, the current band consists of 18 active duty Airmen musicians including one vocalist. As part of The U.S. Air Force Band, The Airmen of Note honors those who have served, inspires American citizens to heightened patriotism and service, and positively impacts the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States.
The group recorded this popular Miller march.
Next up, the U.S. Army Field Band that provides musical support to strengthen the ties between the Army and civilian populations at home and abroad. Since its formation in March 1946, the Field Band has appeared in all fifty states and in more than thirty countries on four continents.
In 1968, Chief Warrant Officer Three Charlie Almeida formed a new performing component of The U.S. Army Field Band, a jazz ensemble he named “The Studio Band.” Fifty years later, the band is known as the “Jazz Ambassadors” and its legacy of service is recognized around the world.
The Jazz Ambassadors is the United States Army’s premier big band and has received great acclaim both at home and abroad performing America’s original art form, jazz.
Here’s their rendition of a Count Basie original.
Let’s stay with The United States Army Band featuring their trumpet section along with The U.S. Army Fife and Drum Corps Trumpeters performing a familiar and fun Leroy Anderson composition at the 2012 National Trumpet Competition at George Mason University.
Anyone who has ever played in a high school band has probably heard of composer John Philip Sousa. He was appointed leader of the U. S. Marine Band and held this position for 12 years, eventually molding the band into the finest military band in the world.
The 1952 film “Stars and Stripes Forever” is a musical biography of Sousa, who was played by Clifton Webb. Ruth Hussey portrayed Sousa’s wife. Here’s a clip.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend, and by all means thank a member of our Armed Forces if your paths should cross.
We close with more Glenn Miller.