PLATTSMOUTH—The 43rd Army Band of the Nebraska National Guard has performed all over the country and overseas, and has earned a prestigious award for musical excellence more times than any other military band.
Next Wednesday, these award-winning and versatile musicians will bring their talents to Plattsmouth for a free public concert beginning at 7 p.m. at the outdoor stage area at Fourth and Main streets.
“I’ve been in this band for 31 years and we have never played in Plattsmouth,” said Brian Anderson, commanding officer.
“We are anxious to come down and share our talents with the good people of Plattsmouth.”
The concert is part of the band’s 2019 active duty training summer concert tour of southeast Nebraska, he said.
It’s the one area of the state where the band has not played in recent times, according to Anderson.
The band numbers about 40 members, who have been playing instruments since they were in elementary school, and who had to earn membership in this band through the audition process.
Mandi Crick of Plattsmouth is a band member, he added. She plays clarinet and the piano.
The concert will run about 90 minutes, according to Anderson, with the first portion featuring the entire band performing patriotic songs, plus musical numbers from such composers as George Gershwin, and Gilbert and Sullivan. The last part of the show will feature a select group from the band, known as Rock and Load, performing popular rock and country songs, Anderson said.
The band’s Sharpshooter Winds will play pre-concert numbers as the audience arrives, he added.
“We have something for everyone, for every taste,” Anderson said.
According to information provided to the Plattsmouth Journal, the band traces its history back to 1924 when it was created in Crete as the “Band Section, Service Company 110th Medical Regiment.”
Throughout its history, the band has had several reorganizations and on March 3, 1948, the band was federally recognized as the 43rd Army Band.
The mission of the band is to provide musical entertainment for the morale of soldiers and to support local communities.
As musical ambassadors of the Nebraska National Guard, the 43rd Army Band represents the guard at a variety of civilian and official military functions throughout Nebraska like performing at parades, concerts and political inaugurations.
Annually, the band either trains on an active duty base or supports local communities and recruiters by performing concert tours throughout Nebraska. It has also performed at Fort Campbell, Ky.; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Monroe, Va.; Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and Tompkins Barracks in Germany.
Perhaps the band’s most impressive accomplishment is its standing among military bands around the world, according to Anderson.
The band leads all active and reserve component bands by receiving The Colonel George S. Howard Citation of Musical Excellence nine consecutive times, spanning 27 years, he said.
Awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation, it’s an annual international competition for active duty and reserve component bands, which bands can apply for every three years.
“Every military band is able to apply for this and we’re the only one to have received it nine times,” Anderson said.
Other awards presented to the 43rd Army Band include the Chief of Staff, Army Supply Excellence Award; the Colonel Don Hatten Award for Supply Excellence; the Army National Guard Bureau Superior Unit Award; the Eisenhower Most Outstanding Company Trophy; and the National Guard Bureau John J. Pershing Trophy.
“The band members are the epitome of hard work and dedication, and also, many of us have played together over 20 years,” Anderson said. “It’s like a family, the willingness to work with each other and the love we have for music.”
The community is urged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for the event.
“Our band really enjoys playing for the people of Nebraska,” Anderson said.