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    234th Army Band completes Centennial Tour

    234th Army Band performs Centennial Tour

    Photo By Spc. Michael Germundson | Staff Sgt. James Cameron, a French horn player in the 234th Army Band, introduces a...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Jennifer Lena 

    115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    CLACKAMAS, Ore.- The 234th Army Band kicked off their state-wide Centennial Tour June 30 at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their inclusion in the Oregon Army National Guard and the unit’s rich history of musical excellence. The tour was the unit’s annual training (AT).
    The tour, which lasted through July 13, traveled to the cities of Dayton, Gresham, Salem, Independence, Happy Valley, Roseburg, Eugene, Bend, Madras, Prineville and Hood River, Oregon. The programs featured numbers ranging from formal to playful, some of which were arranged or written especially for this occasion.
    The unit currently consists of 37 uniquely talented members with diverse backgrounds. The full band, known as the Empire Builders, performed for family, friends and the public free of charge. The unit also has several smaller musical performance teams, which tour under the names Brass Ops (a horn ensemble), 45 Away (a rock ensemble), and General Dischord (a woodwind ensemble). All three teams were included in the Centennial Tour, allowing for multiple performances a day to entertain as many Oregonians as possible.
    “Army bands in general are the face of the Army, therefore, the 234th Army Band is the face of the Oregon National Guard,” said 1st Sgt. Tasha Cruz, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 234th. “We are the ones the public sees on a fairly regular basis, so we are constantly telling the Army story, sharing experiences about the Oregon Guard and rallying public support.”

    “This is my first time touring with the band,” said Spc. Ruben Monroy, trumpet player. “I feel that going through AT together as a unit has helped us build better chemistry that is hard to get when you only see each other 2 or 3 times a month.”
    On a regular basis, the band provides musical support at military functions, such as Military Academy graduations, change of command ceremonies, parades, funerals, opening ceremonies, mobilization and demobilization ceremonies and much more. The unit’s AT typically includes a concert tour of Oregon, but this year had to be extra memorable.
    “Learning about the band's history has further inspired me to work harder and be the best soldier and musician I can be,” Monroy said. “This band holds much meaning to many people, and I can sincerely say I am proud to continue its legacy.”
    In honor of the band’s 100 year history, the group incorporated soloists, former band members, and guest conductors into the show and held an alumni dinner where commemorative coins were handed out.
    “I've been a member of this band since 1997, having joined when I was 17 years old,” Cruz said. “Many of the former members we've invited to our Centennial shows were leaders when I was a private, and I looked up to them. Reconnecting with them again and seeing their joy at being a part of our celebration was very rewarding for me.”
    The 234th Army Band was founded on June 20, 1919. The unit was originally known as Band Section, Service Company, 162nd Infantry Regiment. The band was inducted into federal service in September of 1940 and served in World War II, participating in the campaigns at Luzon, New Guinea and the Southern Philippines. This resulted in the unit earning the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for service.
    In 1947 the band was renamed the 234th Army Band, which it remains today. The unit is currently located at the 41st Infantry Division Armed Forces Reserve Center, Camp Withycombe, Oregon.
    “If there are Oregon Guardsmen and women out there who are musicians, they should come visit and find out what it takes to audition,” Cruz said. “Being in the band is a great way to do what you love while also getting to serve your community and the state.”



    Date Taken: 07.13.2019
    Date Posted: 07.13.2019 17:53
    Story ID: 331249
    Location: CLACKAMAS, OR, US 

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