25th’s Tropic Lightning Band receives world-class training

| July 29, 2010 | 0 Comments

Sgt. Christina Kolodziej
25th Infantry Division Band Public Affairs

The 25th Infantry Division’s Tropic Lightning Band often performs at ceremonial events, such as the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii change of command, at Schofield Barracks, June 14. (Aiko Brum | U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Even after successful performances at the Fourth of July Spectacular on Schofield Barracks, the 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lightning” Band dedicated some time, recently, to polish its mission capabilities in preparation for an upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Several of the band’s musical performance teams, including the Show of Force rock band, Tropic Lightning Brass Band and the Lightning Jazz Project, received personalized training on stage performance from Tom Jackson Productions, which specializes in developing the stage performance skills of live music artists, including Taylor Swift, Jars of Clay, Jordin Sparks, James Bryan and Casting Crows.

Soldiers developed their stage performance skills, here, with the assistance of clinician Lang Bliss. 

“Working on ways to improve performances can only mean increased success in fulfilling a band’s mission,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Parenteau, commander, Tropic Lightning Band. “Army bands showcase the rich culture and traditions of our Army to the public, as well as support the morale and esprit de corps of our Soldiers through (their) performances.”

Many of the bandsmen who went through the training said they were very impressed.

“For years we have been able to play music well, but after having (experienced this) training, there is a big difference between simply playing the music and actually entertaining the troops,” explained Sgt. Christopher Boltinghouse, guitarist in Show of Force.

Spc. Chelsea Schievenin is a clarinetist with the band who pulls double duty as a vocalist in the Tropic Lightning Brass. Although she went through the Army School of Music’s vocal course, the performance training polished her skills as a Soldier-musician.  

“It was a wonderful learning experience; it forced me to step out of my (comfort zone),” said Schievenin. “Learning to communicate with the audience was the hardest part for me.”  

“I’ve never done anything like that before,” said Sgt. Erin Betz, with the Tropic Lightning Band. “Engaging the audience and trying to have better stage presence was the hardest part of the training for me. It is a new skill and deviates from how I am used to performing.”

Bliss stressed the importance of keeping the audience engaged by speaking to them between songs or during vamps. Bliss also explained how musicians often pay attention to getting that one lick and using color chords to spice up the music. Unfortunately, Bliss noted, most audiences don’t have the same music knowledge that musicians have, so creative staging and communication must be used to connect with the audience, to make the music more enjoyable for them.  

Having completed this performance training, Soldiers in the Tropic Lightning Band have increased their capability to bring the whole entertainment package to their music.

Category: News, Training

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