News Column

Army's Jazz Ambassadors to swing through Georgetown

August 25, 2014

By Steve Palisin, The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

Aug. 25--Big band, bebop, swing and other amusing melodies will fill the air Saturday evening in Georgetown as the U.S. Army Field Band's Jazz Ambassadors perform.

Welcomed by the Cultural Council of Georgetown County for a free family concert, the Jazz Ambassadors will play from 6-7:15 p.m. in Francis Marion Park, at Front and Broad streets or, if raining outside, nearby in Winyah Auditorium, 1200 Highmarket St.

The program covers classic and contemporary selections by such musical luminaries as Burt Bacharach, Leonard Bernstein, Hoagie Carmichael, Count Basie, Hal David, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Glenn Miller and Cole Porter.

Sgt. 1st Class Adam Getz, the band's tour coordinator, said he started out as a euphonium player in this ensemble of about 20 artists before assuming this full-time role of booking the band dates. Based in Washington, D.C., the Jazz Ambassadors fulfill "our mission," performing across the country, Getz said, with "100 days' worth of touring a year."

Question -- How often does the band roll through our corner of the United States, in the Southeast?

Answer -- The Department of Defense has the nation divided into five different touring areas, so about every 2 1/2 years, we're in your area.

Q. -- What special knack does joining this group take?

A. -- They all audition. ... Most of them have a master's degree in music. They're professional musicians and fantastic musicians, and now they do this so we can represent the Army across the country. ... We're always on the move.

Q. -- With the wealth of a catalog of music and styles the United States has given the world, how are the Jazz Ambassadors' concert programs chosen and varied?

A. -- They're always changing what they do to keep things interesting and to keep the crowds interested. ... There's something for everybody. ... At each concert, you can hear jazz standards, vocals and some patriotic music. Also, we'll always play the national anthem for the start of each concert, and we always close with the "Armed Forces Medley," so it's a great way not only to perform a great concert of music, but also to recognize the soldiers at home and abroad, and recognize all veterans for their sacrifices.

Q. -- Amid the band's busy schedule -- a show nightly across the Carolinas and Georgia before moving down the Florida next week -- does any time for sightseeing spring up when the music stops?

A. -- Every now and then. For the most part, they are playing a different town every night; they're driving during the day and performing at night. That allows them to play for the most amount of cities and most amount of people on every tour. ...

What is great about traveling the way we do is getting to meet so many people and seeing so many different parts of the country. Sometimes you sort of forget how big this country is. ...

Sometimes, ... we meet veterans who want to share their experiences. It's great to know that bringing part of the Army to these various towns ... makes people so happy.

Q. -- Has the travel agenda taken the group overseas of late, or are such treks in the works?

A. -- It's mostly in the continental United States. Two years ago, the Jazz Ambassadors did a tour in Alaska, and they played the Toronto Jazz Festival a few years ago. ... We're thankful ... the most for the people who show up.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.


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Source: Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC)

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