147th Army Band News

Army Bands Educate Students About the National Guard

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The music performance teams (MPTs) of the 147th Army Band reached students in 52 schools across South Dakota during their Annual Training in February 2014. The army band does a school tour every few years with the goal of educating students about the South Dakota Army National Guard (SDARNG) and supporting recruitment opportunities. This mission makes the National Guard more approachable for students. Lead vocalist from the MPT “Drive On,” Spc. Kim Meyer, commented, “It was very rewarding to have such great involvement from the crowds. They were surprised by the style of music we played because they were expecting concert band, and it was very fun when they could participate and sing along with us.” Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Bigge, NCOIC of Black Ops, added that “It was more than just putting on a concert, it was interacting with the students—entertaining them, teaching them, and inspiring them.”
After watching FTX perform, Jennifer Nielsen of Arlington, SD exclaimed, “this National Guard band was fantastic… I have been inspired!”

The MPTs frequently hold question and answer sessions for the students after the performances to help educate them about the guard and the enlistment process. It creates a bridge for recruiters and Soldiers to meet with and talk to the students in a very comfortable setting. It also provides students easy access to information and resources about enlisting. After watching the performance with his daughter at Platte/Geddes High School in Platte, SD, the SDARNG, Recruiting and Retention Company 1st Sgt. Corey Rabenberg said the “army bands are making a positive difference in recruiting opportunities… some schools that have resisted us coming in before, open their doors for the bands and that gives us the opportunity to meet with the students. It is a great way to showcase the army band and the quality of people we have in the South Dakota National Guard.”

Part of the mission of the army bands is to “foster the support of our citizens.” Each MPT incorporates an element into their show that will help bring awareness to soldiers’ duties and how their sacrifices defend our safety, freedom, and way of life. Taryn, a student from Howard, SD, said “You guys are amazing! You came to my school today and I loved it! Thanks for helping keep our country safe so I, and many other kids, can go to sleep knowing we will wake up still free!”

The 147th Army Band is comprised of five MPTs. The rock band, “SGT Rock,” originated in the late 1980’s and the other four MPTs have materialized to accommodate the evolution of the army bands on a national level. “Mission Essential Brass (MEB)” originated as a brass quintet and has evolved into a popular brass ensemble that performs as a ceremonial brass band as well as a popular music ensemble. MEB traditionally performs for the University of South Dakota’s ROTC graduation. “FTX,” the funk/hip-hop band was formed in 2010 and has had the opportunity of performing at the 2013 Jazz Fest in Sioux Falls and the 2014 South Dakota Bandmasters Convention in Brookings. “Drive On,” the country band, was formed in 2011 and had a very memorable performance at the 2013 EANGUS conference in Sioux Falls. “Black Ops” is a chamber music group that has been going through some exciting changes. They perform everything from chamber clarinet music to pop music. All bands have had numerous performances related to SDARNG events.

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