If you go
What: A free performance by the U.S. Army Field Band
Where: Penn State York's Pullo Center, 1031 Edgecomb Ave., York
When: 7 p.m. Friday, June 12
Tickets: Can be picked up at the Pullo Center box office. They are free.
Details: For more information, visit ThePulloCenter.com .
Military music has a long tradition.
The Roman Legions were accompanied by musicians, the fanfares used as signals. The Ottoman Empire had military bands for ceremonial uses and to play the soundtrack for battles. The Revolutionary War was accompanied by fife and drum corps. Civil war soldiers marched into battle to the sound of music.
"It is a huge honor to be part of that legacy," said U.S. Army Specialist First Class Lauren Curran. "Music is a part of human culture and it is intrinsically tied to military history. I'm just glad I get to help honor that tradition."
A Houston native, Curran is a soldier and a musician, a euphonium player with the acclaimed U.S. Army Field Band which will be performing a free concert at Penn State York's Pullo Center Friday, June 12.
Curran, like her bandmates, is an accomplished musician. She began playing euphonium — a smaller, baritone-voiced tuba — in the sixth-grade band. She played in high school and then studied music at the University of North Texas, eventually earning a master's degree in euphonium performance.
She auditioned for the Army band in 2008. It was like auditioning for a seat in a symphony orchestra, with one exception. At the conclusion of the audition, if you are selected, you are sent off to boot camp. After completing basic training, she joined the band in the fall of 2008.
Her first major performance was playing at President Obama's inaugural parade in January 2009. She was honored to be a part of that historic occasion, but there was one thing.
"It was unbelievably cold and it was snowing," she said. "We don't have that in Texas."
She has now played at two presidential inaugurals, in addition to other ceremonial events and about 200 shows a year. The 65-member ensemble has played in all 50 states and 30 different countries.
She said it is always special for her to play in Houston, her hometown, and particularly special to play for veterans.
"It is a special thing every night," she said.
The band performs a selection of patriotic music and traditional music. Among her favorites is the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," especially when the band drops out and the male chorus signs without accompaniment. Another is "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." That song always makes her think of all of the soldiers who serve in the nation's current conflicts.
And it makes her think of her brother, an Army veteran who served a tour in Iraq as an explosive ordnance disposal officer.
"It makes me think of our duty to keep the home fires burning," she said. "It really is an honor to perform. It's a dream job in a lot of ways."
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