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    Improvisation helps 257th Band member succeed in civilian and Guard career

    Improvisation helps 257th Band member succeed in civilian and Guard career

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chris Short, 257th Army Band, District of Columbia National...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Andrew Enriquez 

    DC National Guard

    Manassas, VA -- U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chris Short is no stranger to learning new things. A french horn player with the District of Columbia National Guard’s 257th Army band, Short also teaches 5th and 6th grade band and orchestra at Baldwin Intermediate School in Manassas, Virginia.

    During the pandemic, Short has been teaching via videoconference as well as recording short music videos for his students to study. This means he plays flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone and some percussion instruments for his band students, as well as violin, viola, cello and bass for his orchestra students.

    “I was the kid who always learned new instruments,” Short said. “That’s probably why I’m doing what I’m doing. I switched instruments all the time in school. My main instrument is french horn and I didn’t even settle on that until 11th grade.”

    Having started piano lessons at age five, Short continued learning music through college, receiving his master’s degree from Michigan State University before beginning his teaching career. In 2020, Short was named Teacher of the Year for Manassas City Schools.

    Short attributes a family tradition of military service as one of the reasons he joined the National Guard. His grandfather served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, his father in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and his younger brother serves in the Michigan Air National Guard.

    “I’m very proud of being a teacher, and I’m proud of my [Guard] service,” Short said. “I started [by] pursuing a career in performance and then I went back to teaching, but I still have that great desire to perform, and the [Army] Band is a great outlet for that.”

    The 257th’s mission typically includes ceremonial duties and high-visibility public performances such as the Presidential Inauguration. In 2020, COVID-19 precautions caused virtual recordings to replace in-person rehearsals and performances for the Band. Short learned new skills in solo recording and sound engineering to help produce YouTube videos.

    “The end result is something pretty cool, but as a musician [recording remotely] is a very bizarre experience. You hear the final thing and think, ‘Oh, that’s not bad!’ But it’s a totally different animal.”

    Short explained that over his first decade in the National Guard, balancing a teaching career with military duties went smoothly. He was activated for the D.C. National Guard’s civil disturbance mission in June 2020, but on the last day of the school year. January 2021 was the first time he was pulled away from teaching without warning, though he has always explained his role in the National Guard to his students.

    “I like sharing with my students that I’m a Guardsman,” Short said. “It always amazes them when they see a photo of me in uniform. It’s an interesting experience, and some kids share their personal experiences with family in the military.”



    Date Taken: 05.05.2021
    Date Posted: 05.06.2021 15:59
    Story ID: 395822
    Location: MANASSAS, VA, US 

    Web Views: 154
    Downloads: 0