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Insight into Air/Army National Guard Bands

Postby goldenmoose » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:37 pm

I was hoping to get some insight into Air/Army National Guard Bands. I am currently a Navy musician and will be separating soon. I would love to hear from anyone with first-hand experience in either of these components. While I would like to keep serving, I would also like the ability to utilize Tricare Reserve for my family.

I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks!!
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Re: Insight into Air/Army National Guard Bands

Postby Leland » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:54 pm

I'm fully retired from the military, but I can point you to at least a couple people who'd know about the reserve bands (one of whom enlisted the same day I did way back when).
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Re: Insight into Air/Army National Guard Bands

Postby fourbass » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:22 pm

I served 3 years in an active duty Army Band and 6 in an Army Reserve Band. You may find better duty in an Air Guard band as far as focusing more on the musical mission. I get the impression that Army National Guard bands leave something to be desired as far as level of musicianship and organization. I got out of the Army Reserve in 2012. During my last year we had do a lot of online training related to cyber security, and other items. It seemed to be a ridiculous amount of time spent with online training. Otherwise my Reserve experience was pretty good.

If you do pursue an Army Guard/Reserve route you may have to go through Army Basic Training. I assume you've already been through the basic music course at the School of Music.

Best of luck.
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Re: Insight into Air/Army National Guard Bands

Postby Lee Stofer » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:59 pm

The National Guard Bands each have their own culture and personality, just as Active Duty Bands do. So, where you are serve has a lot to do with what the duty is like, as each Band will have a slightly different mission focus based on their locale. I have a daughter in the South Dakota Army National Guard Band, and I hear from people all over the Army that the SD Band is one of the best in the Nation. I also have a daughter in the Texas Army National Guard who does a lot of playing in her Band, more than the typical 2-days-per-month and 2-weeks-in-the-summer. I would suggest contacting people at Bands you may be interested in, as you will get a feel for what's going on there pretty quickly.
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Re: Insight into Air/Army National Guard Bands

Postby Radar » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:09 pm

I'm retired from the 98th Division Army Reserve Band out of Rochester NY, like other reserve units, we typically did one weekend a month, but there were occasions where we split our drill weekends up into two separate days to accommodate gigs. For example if we were doing the Memorial Day Parade downtown we might do it in place of our Sunday drill day for that month. In addition to the weekend drills we also did two weeks in the summer, at that time our two week summer drills were done at Ft. Leonard Wood where we would go and perform their gigs for two weeks while they went on leave, or toured etc. Gigs at Leonard Wood involved playing Graduation ceremonies, changes of Commands, etc. Each Reserve or Guard Band is going to be a little different, but the one weekend a month two weeks in the summer is pretty standard. I've been retired for quite a while now, but if you have specific questions about what it's like let me know. The local recruiting offices, are your best source of information about what drilling units are nearest your area, I'm guessing you won't have a lot of choices Reserve and Guard Bands aren't that plentiful. Once you find what's available ask the recruiter to set up a visit with the unit so you can go see and meet them first hand.
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