By Julia LeDoux
Pentagram Staff Writer
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - What do you get when you put The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” together with a group of eager kids at Brucker Hall on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall?
If you answered a rollicking good time with a bit of patriotism and musical education thrown in, you’d be right. The home of “Pershing’s Own” reverberated with the sound of music, children’s laughter and questions March 1 as the band presented Musical Stories for Kids of All Ages to a nearly full house.
Audience members were particularly enthralled as band members brought Munro Leaf’s classic story of “Ferdinand the Bull” to life with music and words voiced by Sgt. 1st Class Pablo Talamante.
“I liked the whole thing,” said Eitana Je-Ching Mellinger-Wu, who will turn 6 in May. “The best part I liked was the story.”
“The fact that they integrated [the music] in with the stories, that kept their attention very well,” said Eitana’s mom, Elise Mellinger.
Sgt. 1st Class Leigh Ann Hinton was joined by “Black Jack” the Cavalry Horse – voiced by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth McGinness – as they emceed the event. Together, they told the story of Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, his love of music and horses and how he founded the band.
They told how this year marks the 200th birthday of the national anthem and how the band honors those who are laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Music actually helps us honor those heroes that rest there,” McGinness said as Black Jack.
Laura Buchanan, wife of Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region, Military District of Washington Commander Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, helped to teach the audience how to use sign language to perform the song, “Make New Friends.”
Sgt. 1st Class Harold Summey explained and demonstrated how drums were used as a communication device before telephones, computers and tablets.
“People used drums and their voices to communicate,” he explained.
Prior to the concert, kids of all ages got to try out various musical instruments in the popular musical instrument petting corral. The Junior Buffalo Soldiers drill team presented the colors to begin the program, and members of the Boyle School of Irish Dance also performed throughout the program.
“We really enjoyed it,” said Erica Scott, who brought her young sons, Caleb, 4, and Ethan, 6, to the event.
“I liked the drums,” Caleb said.