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    126th Army Rock & Roll Band LiveFire performs for Mackinaw City Crowd

    The members of the 126th Army Rock & Roll Band LiveFire

    Photo By Spc. Brian Redmer | The members of the 126th Army Rock & Roll band LiveFire pose for a group photo after...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Brian Redmer 

    126th Public Affairs Operations Center

    On a nearly perfect summer night in northern Michigan, the 126th Army Rock & Roll Band ‘LiveFire’ performed a medley of classic rock & roll hits at Mackinaw City’s Conkling Heritage Park on Friday, July 26, 2019. Performing to the delight of a crowd of several hundred vacationers and tourists, the band performed songs from several eras. During the 1-hour concert that featured songs from The Beatles to Peter Gabriel, the 9-piece ensemble brought the fun and energy, all while representing the Army and the Michigan Army National Guard’s 126th Army Band.

    Non-commissioned officer-in-charge Staff Sgt. Christopher Hurban says it is “the people that make nights like this so special.” Traveling all over the state performing as a member of the main 126th Army Band from Grand Rapids, Michigan has provided Hurban the opportunity to meet people from every corner, yet it was tonight’s performance that he says was the most memorable.

    “Perfect evening, perfect weather, truly feel blessed to be a part of this unit,” he says.

    The 126th Army Band can trace its direct heritage back to the Headquarters Battery and Band of the 119th Field Artillery in Lansing. The Band of the 119th was active with the Headquarters unit during the Spanish-American War (at Santiago), World War I, and World War II. In 1941, the 119th Field Artillery’s Headquarters Band was federally recognized as Band 119th Field Artillery and inducted into Federal service on April 7 in Lansing.

    By 1943, personnel constraints in the U.S. Army once again caused the disbandment of all regimental bands and the 119th Field Artillery Band was disbanded on March 15, 1943 at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. The 119th Field Artillery Band was then reconstituted and re-designated as the 46th Infantry Division Band on August 25, 1945. The 46th Infantry Division Band received federal recognition on December 16, 1946.

    In 1956, the 46th Infantry Division Band was disbanded, reorganized, and moved to the armory at 7 Michigan Avenue NW in Grand Rapids. In 1965, the 46th Infantry Division Band was moved to the armory in Wyoming, Michigan. Two years later, on July 24, 1967 the band was ordered into active Federal service for the Detroit Riots and released from active Federal service on August 2, 1967. On February 1, 1968 the 46th Infantry Division Band was reorganized and re-designated as the 126th Army Band and was relieved from assignment to the 46th Infantry Division.

    Entertaining and performing for the citizens and soldiers of Michigan for over 50 years, in May 2013 the 126th Army Band was declared "The Governor's Own". The official ceremony was held in July 2013 at the Camp Grayling Memorial and Review.
    Performing with the 126th Army Band for nearly 19 years, Hurban has seen the rock & roll band evolve from what was once an idea, to what it is now. LiveFire is one of seven different bands that comprise the 126th Army Band including the largest piece, the Main Concert Band. Hurban is a member of three of the ensembles.

    The band LifeFire has been a part of the 126th Army band for nearly 15 years, and started “when the School of Music changed vision from strictly a concert band setting to more of a focus on small groups that would be easily deployable to different areas at the same time. The group has changed members many times as soldiers come and go,” Hurban states.

    The current group, who have only been playing together for about 1 year, consists of the nine Soldiers who played in Mackinaw City on this night. Hurban, NCOIC on the administrative side and the point-of-contact for the band, plays Bari Sax and is the drum major as well; Staff Sgt. Greg Hoogland; admin and playing trumpet; Sgt. Brooke Briggson, the NCOIC of all music performances and rehearsals, also does vocals, plays clarinet, guitar, keyboard, alto sax and the flute; Sgt. Bryce Lynn, who Hurban credits as being the member who got the band started toward its current direction many years ago, works in logistics, does vocals and plays the guitar; Sgt. Chris Reed, works on the admin side and is on drums; Spc. Eric Culver, the band’s sound engineer and bass guitarist; Spc. Patrick Redmond, works in logistics, does vocals and plays both trombone and keyboard; Spc. Adam Good, heads the training and performs vocals and plays trumpet; and lastly, Spc. Kate Kalina, who is in logistics and plays tenor sax.

    The demands of being both a musician for the 126th Army Band and at the same time a soldier in the U.S. Army is not lost on Hurban. “We train on weapons qualification once a year, do PT like everyone else…. and if we don’t keep up on our musicianship daily, we will not be performance ready,” says Hurban. “I have been doing this for 19 years with the Army and about 12 years before that, so over 30 years of my life has been music.”

    On top of the demands that most National Guard soldiers face as civilians with a career outside of the military, Hurban observed that those demands do not leave as much time to practice and rehearse together as often as many other bands are afforded.
    “LiveFire gets to rehearse a few hours every month during our drill weekend. Due to our busy civilian lives, we might be able to get together as a group once or twice a year to practice outside of drill weekends.” Hurban says. “LiveFire does 5 to 10 performances a year. Military balls, performing for veterans at VFWs, American Legions, VA hospitals. The band as a whole does 50 plus performances a year. The furthest we have played is the Western U.P.”

    On this night the band played in one of the great destinations in the lower peninsula of Michigan, and the night for everyone was a huge success. Many in the crowd were dancing in their chairs, several stood and danced. Even one young toddler, just learning to walk, danced and mimicked the movements of one of the band members who came out to mingle during a song. Once the performance was finished, band members spoke to those in the crowd, shook hands and took pictures with anyone who asked.

    Hurban and LiveFire delighted the audience with their performance, and to cap the perfect evening, fireworks were set-off over the waters of Lake Huron once the light was gone.

    Parts of this story were obtained from the 126th Army band website. To read the official Governors Proclamation on the band and for more information on how to book an arrangement, please visit



    Date Taken: 07.26.2019
    Date Posted: 08.01.2019 14:18
    Story ID: 334082
    Location: ANN ARBOR, MI, US 

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