Army Ensemble Performs at D.C. Visitors’ Center
By Whitney Evans, Church News staff writer
On Sunday evening, November 11, some 400 people attended a concert given by the U.S. Army Band Trumpet Ensemble at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center, which featured many original compositions and arrangements by prominent composers as well as by those in the group itself.
“I remember thinking it was over too soon,” said Elder Don Olsen, director of the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center.
Because of the significance of the band performing on Veterans Day, the concert carried additional meaning.
“This was our third time performing at the visitors’ center, and it has been a great opportunity for us to give back within the community,” said the only Latter-day Saint in the ensemble, Staff Sgt. Andrew Allphin, who is a member of the Aquia Ward, Fredericksburg Virginia Stake.
“They are just terrific. These are very, very talented musicians. Each of them you can tell is very talented in his own right,” Elder Olsen said. “They are such a credit to themselves. They are a credit to the army band, to the army, and a credit to the nation.”
The foremost musical organization of the U.S Army, the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” was created in 1922 by Army Chief of Staff General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing. He attempted to mimic the style of the European military bands he had heard during World War I. Beginning with the 1925 inauguration of President Calvin Coolidge, the U.S. Army Band continues to lead every inaugural parade, in addition to performing at events of national and international significance and supporting more than 2,000 military funerals each year.
The U.S. Army Band Trumpet Ensemble, created in 2009 from trumpeters in “Pershing’s Own,” has amassed international acclaim as it has performed numerous concerts and recitals in and around the nation’s capital and abroad. The ensemble was featured at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Sydney, Australia, in 2010. (In preparation for that performance, the ensemble held a concert at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center; the group has returned each year since then.) Last fall it played at the Sauerland-Herbst Brass Festival in Germany, and it has performed in music festivals in the United States. “As a member of the Church, I have looked at this as an opportunity to bring patrons to the visitors’ center, whether member or nonmember, while uplifting all with a common love and interest for our country and servicemen and women,” Staff Sgt. Allphin said.
The trumpet ensemble performs on a wide array of instruments in the trumpet family, such as B-flat, C, D, and E-flat trumpets; cornet; flugelhorn; and piccolo trumpet. One challenge the group encounters is in converting pieces written for classical instruments to fit with trumpets and flugelhorns.
The evening’s selections included “Amazing Grace,” “O Magnum Mysterium,” “The Washington Post March,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the national anthem, and “America the Beautiful.” The ensemble performed classical pieces by composers Marcus Grant and Eric Morales.
In honor of the veterans present, the ensemble performed a medley of service hymns. As the hymn for each branch of the military was played, the members associated with that branch stood.
“This specific concert allowed us to hone our craft in this new developing genre, professional trumpet ensemble, and build on the common themes and respect of the ideals of love of God and country that we seek to promote,” Staff Sgt. Allphin said.