Among the annual holidays celebrating the United States military is the lesser-known Armed Forces Day on May 18. This year, Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG) and School of Communication & the Arts (SCA) hosted the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Band (pictured) for a public concert honoring those who dedicate their lives to military service.
"I am proud that Regent is routinely ranked as one of the top military-friendly universities in the country," said RSG dean, Dr. Eric Patterson. "I take this seriously because I am an officer in the Air National Guard."
The concert was held in the Main Theatre of the Performing Arts Center before several hundred members of the Regent and Hampton Roads communities and was developed to help celebrate RSG's 30th anniversary and affirm the university's commitment to serving those who serve their country.
"Armed Forces Day is a forgotten, but important, holiday," Patterson added. "Regent should be leading Virginia Beach in celebrating this important day on an annual basis, and that is our intent moving forward."
The concert featured patriotic and Americana music, both classic and contemporary. "The TRADOC Band Commander and I both think the concert went extraordinarily well," said the band's Executive Officer and Associate Bandmaster, First Lieutenant Silas Huff. "We heard remarkable feedback from audience members who were moved and found the performance very stirring."
The TRADOC Band's Armed Forces Day program honors service members past and present with special consideration for current events and the anniversaries of conflicts throughout history in its song selection. Each composition is chosen to tell a chapter of the United States Armed Forces story.
"Part of the mission of Army Bands (when we're not playing ceremonies, or concerts for Army families at home and abroad) is to foster the support of our citizens and promote our national interests," said Huff. "The TRADOC Band's concerts in Hampton Roads honor servicemen and women from today and the past, creating a direct link between the general public and the military."
For the program at Regent, the band played John Williams' "Midway March," originally composed for a film about the most important battle of the Pacific Campaign in World War II. Staff Sergeant Holly Schultz performed "Gabriel's Oboe," accompanied by video footage of wounded warriors. "The video was a tribute to their sacrifices and struggles," Huff said.
Samuel Hazo's "Olympiada," written to capture the intense glory and pain only the Olympic Games can inspire, was also featured. Sergeant Daniel Puls sang "Here's to the Heroes," accompanied by images of veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
"Our favorite part of our concerts is when we perform the Armed Forces Medley," Huff reported. "We don't perform it at every concert, but we perform it often, and we enjoy acknowledging the families members as they hear their service song played. ...In Virginia Beach, it's fun when the Navy song starts—it seems like half the audience members jump to their feet.
The U.S. Army TRADOC Band is led by Major Leo Peňa and is based at nearby Joint Base Langley-Eustis.