Military bands offer free online performances during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can help Veterans through this difficult time.
“Music therapy is the evidence-based use of music for a therapeutic purpose,” said Alison Whitehead, acting director for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation. “It can help promote relaxation, reduce depression and anxiety, and even help with pain management.”
Whether it’s a Sousa march or Star Wars theme music, each of the five military bands has performances both live and taped.
Army Band “Pershing’s Own”
The Army Band aims to bring people together virtually through United We Stand | Music to Connect Us.
The band offers performances Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on their website at https://www.usarmyband.com/watch-listen/live-webcasts.html. There’s a harp and violin concert April 30 at 7 p.m. Eastern and a trombone performance called “From Bach to Breakfast” at 4 p.m. Eastern May 1. The live performances are at https://www.facebook.com/usarmyband/live_videos/.
Swamp Romp and members of The United States Army Band Downrange recently played a tribute to American singer-songwriter and musician Bill Withers, a Navy Veteran.
Marine Band “The President’s Own”
Founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress, the Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. The Marine Band offers at home performances and instruction on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/marineband.
“The Commandant’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, created a first ever mass online collaboration, the “Digital Drumline Project.” The end of the video shows 900+ videos of drummers playing in unison from all over the world.
A 2019 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the Navy Band has online watch parties on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/watch/usnavyband/.
The band offers a mix of their favorite past performances and new works, including #ReachOutWednesday. The videos encourage people to pick up the phone, call someone, and brighten their day.
The Country Current bluegrass ensemble recently played “Cherokee Shuffle” to brighten the spirits of viewers.
Air Force Band
In a tribute to first responders, nurses, doctors, and everyone serving communities during the pandemic, the Air Force Band created a virtual performance of “God Bless America.”
The Air Force Band also started a Duet Initiative, where band members play alongside children from across the country. In the most recent post, a fourth grade clarinet player named Lily from Torrington, Conn., joined Master Sgt. Laura Shoun from the Air Force Concert Band. They played “America the Beautiful.”
They offer performances on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/USAFBand/posts/.
Coast Guard Band
The Coast Guard Band offers a livestream rebroadcast of “May the Fourth Be With You,” in honor of Star Wars day. The concert will include the main title from Star Wars and Imperial March by Air Force Veteran John Williams. The band will also play Americans We by Henry Fillmore, Legacy (oboe concerto) by Oscar Navarro, El Camino Real by Alfred Reed and the Armed Forces Medley.
The event is 7 p.m. May 4 on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/uscoastguardband.
The band has past performance videos at https://www.facebook.com/pg/uscoastguardband/videos/?ref=page_internal. The recently played a virtual concert of Mozart’s Andante from Serenede for Winds.
Music therapy and VA
In addition to military bands, VA offered this 17-minute and 30-second virtual Music and Movement Group from the VA Central Iowa Health Care System.