Strike up the Army band

U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus, Motor City Brass Band put on free concert

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 25, 2014

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Bring your patriotic pride and a lawn chair or blanket: The U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus, joined by the Motor City Brass Band, will play a free concert at 6 p.m. July 1 on the lakeside lawn of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

Sponsored by the War Memorial Board of Directors, the concert — which will feature patriotic and other songs — was planned as a way to kick off the July 4 holiday.

“It’s right around the Fourth of July — what’s not to love about that?” said Wanda Claes, director of Lifelong Learning at the War Memorial.

War Memorial President and CEO Charles Burke said the Army band “approached us through the Motor City Brass Band … and we said, ‘Yes, we’d love to have you.’”

This will mark the first time the U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus has performed at the War Memorial, a spokesperson for the band said. The group plays a mix of marches, popular songs, overtures, patriotic tunes, and instrumental and vocal solos.

“Being a War Memorial and being a place that honors veterans, this is just a natural way to serve the community,” Burke said of the free public performance, which War Memorial officials hope will attract veterans, families and music lovers of all ages.

The band is in town for performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the groups will be performing July 2-5 at Greenfield Village in Dearborn as part of the 22nd annual Salute to America concerts.

The U.S. Army Field Band formed in 1946 as the Army Ground Forces Band and received its current name in 1950. It has four component groups, and all four tour the country, performing about 100 days each year. The U.S. Army Field Band has performed with orchestras around the country and was on hand for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the rededication of the Statue of Liberty, and the 50th anniversary commemorations of World War II in the United States and Europe, among other milestone events.

The War Memorial’s scenic grounds and gardens provide a relaxing place to sit and enjoy a concert. Burke said the Army band’s choir will perform from the balcony of the Alger House, above the band, which will be playing on the terrace overlooking the back lawn.

“I think this is a great venue to do anything outside. … You can leave the world behind,” Claes said.

The grounds will open at 5 p.m. for those who want to get there early and find a prime viewing spot on the lawn. Refreshments will be available for purchase on the grounds. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved inside Fries Auditorium. Because seating is more limited inside Fries Auditorium, Burke said attendees should plan on arriving early, especially if the weather promises to move the concert indoors.

Although having the U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus back will depend on the band’s schedule, Burke said the War Memorial plans on offering some sort of annual event around July 4 to mark Independence Day.

“We hope that it will be an annual occurrence,” he said. “It’s going to be a fantastic concert.”

The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore in Grosse Pointe Farms. No reservations are needed. For more information, call (313) 881-7511 or visit