The 35th Infantry Division Band Army National Guard will appear in a free public concert at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 24, 2013, at the Augusta High School.
Sgt. Todd Hollis, Augusta USD 402 instrumental music instructor, is a member of the band and will be playing trumpet and also conducting several pieces.
The band's conductor is Chief Warrant Officer 3, Stephen Patterson from Topeka. They play concert band selections ranging from light classics to serious repertoire, but their specialty is patriotic music.
The band is based in Olathe and members are from all over the state. Augusta is the second stop on a two- week summer tour of Kansas communities. Concert locations include Overland Park, Merriam, Topeka, Osage City, Melvern, Wichita, Overbrook, Winfield, Parsons, Andover, and El Dorado.
The band is comprised of men and women from all walks of life, including teachers, lawyers, nurses, and engineers. Every band member has completed the same training that every U.S. Army soldier has had, plus specialized music training. All the Army standards are maintained, including physical fitness and weapons training.
Hollis stated, “I have been in the Kansas National Guard for 13 years, 9 of those years with the band. My initial enlistment was with the 226th Engineers here in Augusta. I deployed in 2003 to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom...I am tremendously proud to serve my country. To be able to combine my passion for music and my love for our great nation is a true blessing.”
Hollis has great memories of performances with the band, and shared that his favorite was an outdoor concert in Merriam, Kan. They always play “The Service Medley” as a way to recognize the members of the audience who have served in the Armed Forces, by playing the official song of each branch of the military. The current or former members stand when their song is played and they are applauded and saluted in tribute. At the concert was an elderly man in a wheelchair wearing a VFW cap. When the band played “Semper Fidelis”, the gentleman attempted to stand. When the person sitting next to him tried to assist, he stubbornly refused. Towards the end of the Marine song, he managed to make it to his feet, straightened his posture and presented a salute. Hollis was moved to tears and was reminded by the pride exhibited on the man’s face of what an important service the band provides.
Hollis encourages everyone to attend the free concert, “We would love to see a packed house!”