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Author Topic: new development in military music  (Read 7174 times)
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fsgazda

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« Reply #20 on: Jun 22, 2016, 11:16AM »

Just emailed both of my senators.  Here is what I sent:

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Dear Senator Coons,

I am writing to urge you to vote against the McSally amendment that will curtail all military bands to playing only at specific ceremonies and funerals. While on the surface this may seem like a wise way to reduce military spending, in reality it will sever a critical connection between our military and the public, including the many veterans who attend various military band concerts every year, for what is frankly a "drop in the bucket" in savings.

As it stands now, the musical programs in the various branches of our armed forces have been gutted over the last twenty years. The Air Force Band program, for example, used to have over 30 bands that served both the civilian population and our troops. Now there are 10, and the area that they are each assigned to cover is so large that it makes it unlikely that most Americans will ever see or hear one of these excellent ensembles perform. If you believe in the concept of "Soft Power", this critical component of it is lost. In part because of these cuts, many funerals for our brave veterans require the use of an electronic bugle to play taps. This, to me, is an embarrassment and a poor way to honor our veterans.

While it may appear that having military musical units perform at non-ceremonial functions is wasteful, in reality the need for music will not disappear. Instead of using these outstanding musicians who are paid a flat salary, regardless of the number of hours or performances they are tasked with, outside musicians will be hired, which will lead to unknown quality and an ultimately greater expense.

In addition, military musical units perform a critical role in music education in our country. As a music educator, I have been honored to host musical units from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Their performances and clinics for my students and the general public have been inspiring, and forge a link between our military and civilian populations.

Some of the greatest musicians that America has produced, including John Philip Sousa and Glenn Miller, were proud members of our military bands. I urge you to do everything that you can to make sure that this critical component of our culture is not lost. Additional cuts to these programs are short sighted and will have the effect of decreasing morale within military units and severing another connection between our military and the civilian population. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frank Gazda
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Dan Hine

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« Reply #21 on: Jun 22, 2016, 12:36PM »

The rest of the time, probably 300 performances a year, is done with small groups like funk bands, combos, trios, etc.

That wasn't my experience from 2005-2012 while serving in the Marine Corps.  I'd say it was close to the exact opposite of what you say.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #22 on: Jun 22, 2016, 12:49PM »

That wasn't my experience from 2005-2012 while serving in the Marine Corps.  I'd say it was close to the exact opposite of what you say.

My experience is with the Army at garrison level.  I haven't kept count but roughly 1 of 20 performances I hear have the full band.  The real numbers may be even lower. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #23 on: Jun 22, 2016, 01:12PM »

I feel like I work very very hard to play for the widest audience possible. I played in every corner of NC when I was at Bragg, including many one traffic light towns. I believe the estimated audience count was over 200,000 in just two years unless you count the NASCAR events. Then it's more.
I know the bands down in San Diego are busy, but I never seem to hear about them playing up around here. Not really the fault of the bands - they go where they're invited, and it's up to the organizers of the event to publicize it. That said, it'd be nice if I could go the the web page for a band and find a list of upcoming public concerts. The only San Diego-based band that seems to have such a thing is Navy Band Southwest. Maybe it's a security thing...

One thing I would like to see is for the DoD to have a website with some sort of master calendar for public concerts - you plug in where you are, and it tells you what bands are playing in your area and when. Probably never happen - security concerns, once again.
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sonicsilver
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« Reply #24 on: Jun 22, 2016, 01:21PM »

Just emailed both of my senators.  Here is what I sent:


Electronic bugle at a funeral for a dead armed serviceman?

ELECTRONIC BUGLE????

I'm sure there must be something more insulting than that but it'll take me a while to think of it.

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timothy42b
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« Reply #25 on: Jun 22, 2016, 01:28PM »

Electronic bugle at a funeral for a dead armed serviceman?

ELECTRONIC BUGLE????

I'm sure there must be something more insulting than that but it'll take me a while to think of it.



Yeah.  No bugle, or bad bugle.  Equally disrespectful.

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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #26 on: Jun 22, 2016, 01:33PM »

The only thing I could find was Amendment 048:
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48. McSally (AZ), McCollum (MN), Pearce (NM): Limits the
Defense Department from using money to have musical military
units perform in an official capacity for certain entertainment
purposes in 10 U.S.C. 974, including dinners, dances, and
social events. (10 minutes)

I'm confused though, that seems to apply to last year's budget, not next year.

At any rate, it is a limitation and not an absolute prohibition. 

Does it seem fair that at a purely social event (not a ceremony or official function) that the band members are working, for free, while everybody else is off duty having fun?  That's always bothered me a bit at functions of that nature.  The band is hired help like the wait staff - only for free.  Parades, ATW, those aren't purely social events and wouldn't be affected. 
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« Reply #27 on: Jun 22, 2016, 01:41PM »

Are there any actually in-the-armed-forces-now musicians here who know more about what this amendment does?
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #28 on: Jun 22, 2016, 02:13PM »

Electronic bugle at a funeral for a dead armed serviceman?


A few years ago,  the funeral service for a dear friend of mine had two young military personnel attend with a cassette player to play Taps.  They performed their duty honorably,  but it didn't seem right.  One has to imagine that there are some minimal rights our service men and women can expect from us,  including having Taps played by a military trumpet player at their funeral...just sayin'
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« Reply #29 on: Jun 22, 2016, 03:54PM »



This article contains Rep. McSally's explanation...

The Pentagon's battle of the bands

Quote
Entertainment is “just not the role of the military," said Rep. Martha McSally, a hawkish Arizona Republican and retired Air Force colonel who serves on the Armed Services Committee. She and other lawmakers are ramping up the pressure with new legislation that would require the Pentagon to determine whether it could ease cuts in combat units by reducing the number of musicians.

McSally told POLITICO that military musicians fulfill important ceremonial tasks and protocols — presidential inaugurations, parades and other public events and, of course, funerals. But she can no longer support such large expenditures “when we’re at a place where we’re having this conversation about being at a crisis level of readiness and force structure and manning for our military.”




In other news...

Quote
Electronic bugle at a funeral for a dead armed serviceman?

ELECTRONIC BUGLE????

I'm sure there must be something more insulting than that but it'll take me a while to think of it.


Basically too many wars made too many veterans...


Budget cuts to silence military buglers, replaced with recorded renditions of Taps at New York funerals


Quote
The use of electronic bugles at military funerals has been in use since as early as 2003 under authorization by President George W. Bush as the number of Iraq War deaths and the growing number of deceased World War II veterans stretched resources.



Military funerals affected by bugler shortage



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With an estimated 1,800 veterans dying each day in America, the military has suffered from a shortage of buglers at funerals. In 2002, the Pentagon issued mock bugles such as the one used at McCaughn’s funeral to cope with the shortage and to move away from the rendering of taps via boom box, a practice that took hold in the 1980s.

I suppose it would be an outrage if a trombone showed up to play taps?
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #30 on: Jun 22, 2016, 04:11PM »

Not if the trombonist was playing a trumpet or bugle.
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Dan Hine

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« Reply #31 on: Jun 22, 2016, 04:21PM »

My experience is with the Army

The Marine Corps band field has (had?) a much different structure.
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« Reply #32 on: Jun 22, 2016, 05:19PM »

Total budget savings for the DoD apparently would be 0.075%, which is a little more than one F-22 Raptor, or 15% of one submarine, or five trident II missiles (or 6,500 military musicians and their equipment, facilities, vehicles, and resources).

So it's not really about money. It would cost more to implement the cut than the cut would save.

I played at a funeral once, and it's not something I'd rush to repeat. But it meant a lot to the bereaved. There are some things in life, especially military life, that are indescribable and inexpressible... except in music.
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« Reply #33 on: Jun 22, 2016, 06:11PM »

Yeah, there's no playing on a trombone.  But you can volunteer to play bugle.  If forget the group, buglers across America or something like that.  They help coordinate volunteer buglers.  I have a couple of friends that do it.  That said, the electronic bugle is a good recording.  It is Woody English, you probably saw him playing taps on CSpan for a couple of decades.  A bad recording of him sounds a lot better than a good recording of me on a bugle.

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #34 on: Jun 22, 2016, 06:31PM »

Yeah, there's no playing on a trombone.  But you can volunteer to play bugle.  If forget the group, buglers across America or something like that.  They help coordinate volunteer buglers.  I have a couple of friends that do it.  That said, the electronic bugle is a good recording.  It is Woody English, you probably saw him playing taps on CSpan for a couple of decades.  A bad recording of him sounds a lot better than a good recording of me on a bugle.

Cheers,
Andy

I'd never heard of this. For anyone else who's interested:

http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/Home.aspx

Quote
[Volunteers] can play a traditional bugle with no valves, or they can perform the ceremony on a Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn, or a 1, 2 or 3 valved bugle.

So if any of those teeny-mouthpiece instruments tickle your fancy...

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« Reply #35 on: Jun 23, 2016, 04:24PM »

Are there any actually in-the-armed-forces-now musicians here who know more about what this amendment does?


Not sure if they have a clue what this could do. Most of the management level people, E7 and above, aren't allowed to talk about it. McSally's own office won't take calls from non-constituents. And she's trying to hillary her records of any associations with the bands prior to her offering this amendment.

Here's a gem:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vybxxt0uuz6kf6z/File%20Jun%2023%2C%2012%2017%2037%20AM.jpeg?dl=0

And a circulating memo on the subject:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bh7rwxo05dh4lka/File%20Jun%2023%2C%2012%2025%2047%20AM.jpeg?dl=0
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« Reply #36 on: Jun 23, 2016, 04:35PM »

 :-0
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« Reply #37 on: Jun 24, 2016, 05:30PM »

When we did my father's monument dedication I wanted to play taps for him.  I wanted to play it on my alto trombone, which had a sentimental value since I bought it the last time I visited him.  Dad was a World War II vet serving in the South Pacific as a radio control tower operator.

I talked to the Veterans' organization he belonged to for many years, the VA chaplain we used to see at the New York VA hospital (who did the service) and was told I could use anything I wanted.  So I played Taps for him on my Conn 36H.  Nobody go upset.  I received a few compliments on my playing.  I'd be delighted to play for any other Vet who was near enough to get to.

I would take a real anything over the electronic bugle or the boom box.
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« Reply #38 on: Jun 24, 2016, 06:48PM »

One of the previously linked articles suggested that taps was required at every veteran funeral but some research indicates that taps and other ceremony like the folded flag presentation are available on family request but not required whether you want it or not.

My dad was in and out of the army before WWII got going so he's a technically a veteran but I think it would be silly to have a bugler do taps for him.

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #39 on: Jun 24, 2016, 07:52PM »

It's required if you do a military funeral,  as opposed to a private family one.
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T-396A - Griego 1C
88HTCL - Griego 1C
36H - DE XT105, C+, D Alto Shank
3B/F Silversonic - Griego 1A ss
pBone (with Yellow bell for bright tone)
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