Alyssa Bump -Staff writer
On the last Sunday of the 2021 summer season, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus closed the season with one last note on the Amphitheater stage. This year, they return at 2:30 p.m. Sunday to ring in the 2022 season.
“Opening the Sunday Afternoon Entertainment series with a concert representing the strength and fortitude of our nation while thanking our veterans for their service and sacrifice is an honor,” Staff Sergeant Kaci Lewandowski said.
More than a traditional concert, the band prides itself on providing an immersive experience for all generations with their message of hope and resilience. Sunday’s performance will be the 38th time the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus have performed at Chautauqua.
“All of the soldiers treasure the opportunity to perform at such a marvelous place with fantastic audience members,” Lewandowski said. “The energy at Chautauqua is invigorating. Regardless of how many days we have been on the road or how many concerts we have played, the performance at Chautauqua always feels the most cohesive and alive. It is truly magical.”
This will be Lewandowski’s second time performing on the grounds with her fellow soldiers. She has been a part of the Field Band for four years and has been playing the French horn for 16 years.
To become a member of the Army Field Band or Soldiers’ Chorus, prospective soldiers must go through a rigorous all-day audition process, “at the same level of orchestral or other professional choral auditions,” Lewandowski said. Many soldiers have at least one or several performance degrees.
When soldiers are selected to join the band or chorus, they must attend basic training. Once these steps are taken, soldiers begin preparing for their next mission with the Army Field Band.
The Field Band’s mission is to, “connect the American people to their Army through music,” Lewandowski said. The band and chorus’ vision aligns with what Chautauqua represents and with the Institution’s rich history and appreciation for the arts.
“We share commonalities of aiming to enrich the lives of others around us and promoting creativity,”
The Field Army Band and Soldiers’ Chorus have chosen specific pieces to perform with the goal of telling a larger story that represents the soldiers’ service, inclusion, innovation and patriotism.
“We have combined traditional military music, exciting commercial themes and beautiful lyrical pieces to bring a program that captures the beauty and diversity of America itself,” Lewandowski said.
To keep each performance fresh and invigorating, the military band commander Colonel Jim R. Keene uses a visionary approach to honor tradition while modernizing their sound.
“Keene and an outstanding team of soldiers ensure our programs are always fresh and bring something audiences have not seen before on any other stage,” Lewandowski said.
Sunday’s performance will use musical storytelling to connect listeners through vocal and instrumental solos, she said, “as well as lots of large band writing sure to fill the entire Amphitheater.”