Vol. VI, No. 3 Third Quarter 1999
I can clearly remember riding from town to town with Ken Stoppelbein and Colonel Clark in the late eighties, listening to their conversations about the need for an alumni association for the Field Band. It’s illuminating to look back and see what has come of those conversations! First, on the official side, the band sponsors Homecoming Weekend each summer, with a concert including alumni, the annual unit picnic, and various other activities such as a golf tournament and a fun run/walk. These activities aren’t all new, but the idea of having them all on the same weekend creates a great opportunity for former members to get together. Next, on the unofficial side of the house, a small group of Field Band retirees met at a breakfast hosted by Joe Greco in early 1992 to develop this idea. They founded the Retiree & Alumni Association, which gives us the means to communicate and additional opportunities to visit and catch up with old friends. And that’s what this is all about.
The Field Band is a unique job, and a unique experience. The nature of the work?that we serve an important goal, that we share the love of music and country, that we care so much about what we do, and that we travel together?provides a special forum that creates bonds that most people just don’t find in their work. These bonds often develop into life-long friendships, and into what we call the Field Band family. So now, ten years later, it’s impressive to see the fruits of their vision. We’ve got the association, Homecoming Weekend, this newsletter, quarterly breakfasts, and the Association’s internet website, all to help us to maintain the ties with each other and with the band and it’s tradition.
Great job, gentlemen!
Where we go with this depends on all of us. This is a period of transition for the band, as the past few years and the next few years have seen and will continue to see numerous additions to the ranks of the retirees. That, along with communicating effectively with former members, can help the association to grow. The main task, however, is for us to keep the bonds strong by keeping in touch and participating when we can, maintaining old friendships and building new ones.
Next on the agenda (Friday afternoon) was the golf tournament. The Callaway handicap system was used, and the winners were . . . 1st place, Mike Johnston (USAFB); 2nd place, Clyde Connor (Navy Band); and 3rd place, Bill Jones (USAFB retired). Low gross score for men was Bob Cherry (USAFB) at 74, and for women Lynn Peck-Collins (USAFB retired) at 97. Army won the Army/Navy Marine challenge with a 71 (best ball). Thanks go to Dan Sherlock, the tournament coordinator and gifted beverage cart driver, and to Lynn Peck-Collins of Remax Legend Realtors for sponsoring the cash prizes. Saturday morning there was a 5K fun run around the golf course, followed by the unit picnic at Burba Lake in the afternoon. It turned out to be a beautiful day for a picnic and softball game. At the end of the day the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders (bagpipe and drum corps) arrived on buses from their home in Cornwall, Ontario, and made a dramatic marching entrance to the picnic. Burba Lake’s resident geese didn’t know what to make of that!
Sunday evening’s concert featured the Highlanders, whose renditions of American patriotic songs, Scottish dancers, and camaraderie made a first-rate presentation; and the 1812 Overture as only the U.S. Army can perform it! Participating with the band were Don Berg, Jerry Lee, John Wojcik, John Baker, Rick Barnes, Bruce Kimball, Ed Calhoon, and Frank Granofsky. Colonel Clark conducted a big band medley.
It was great to see everyone who was there. We missed those who could not attend, and hope to see you next year.
Okay, so you’re the new editor of this newsletter, and you’re looking at a blank computer screen, thinking, “Now what do I do?” Fortunately, this is a problem I didn’t have to face. I had over a hundred pages of old newsletters from my predecessor (that’s a lot of newsletter!), and timely input from Joey Greco, Ken Stoppelbein, George Koran, and Colonel Clark to guide me through this task. I had numerous expressions of support and offers of assistance from association members. I had cold beverages from Ken (see previous issue). And if all else fails, I have clip art!
I do want to say some thank you’s, and to ask for some help. First, thanks to all for the chance to get involved, which keeps me in touch with people I enjoy, and to make a contribution to an important tradition. Next, thanks to Ken, who has done a superb job of creating this publication and has given me all the help (and cold beverages) one could ask for; and to Joe, who is more than half of this team and puts in a great deal of time to make things happen. And thanks to the folks who write for us on a regular basis.
My big request is that you, the members of the association, keep us informed about your activities, news, and milestones. That information, which you can update each year when you renew your membership, is the meat and potatoes of this publication. Also, if you’ve got some short stories or reminiscences that you’d like to share, please send them to me. I’ll enjoy them, and I bet the rest of you will, too.
I’ve moved recently, so here’s where you reach me:
He will be missed by the entire Field Band family.
Greetings to all the Retiree and Alumni Association members. As COL Grogan said in the last Commanders Call, “It really did happen,” the new facility is absolutely fantastic. If you haven’t seen it, please make every effort to get to Ft. Meade and look it over. Judy and I were honored to be there for the dedication but had to return before the concert and change of command.
We are supposed to be retired but just haven’t gotten there yet. It was great to see so many of the retirees, alumni, and active members who served with me when I was in the best band in the Armed Forces. COL Grogan and all the officers and enlisted members of the band are to be commended for keeping the professional level of the band moving forward. All the performing groups just keep getting better and better. Also, a great big congratulation to COL Hamilton. He is the right person and will do a fine job. COL Grogan, hats off to you for setting up your replacement.
In March, just before the dedication of the new building, Judy and I attended the annual ABA convention in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and had a great time visiting with the Gibsons, Fricanos, Grogans, and COL Hamilton, our newest ABA member. We all (to include our wives) did a lot of visiting and enjoyed telling Field Band stories. Also, with the band performing, it was a real privilege to guest conduct. All the previous commanders were awarded this honor and we had a great time. COL and Mrs. Gibson did a wonderful job hosting the convention. I can’t think of anything more difficult than hosting an ABA convention. Congratulations!!!! After the convention, Judy and I took a short cruise over to Freeport and Nassau. Then, back to Aiken and work.
In May, Judy and I took a little trip to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. We had a great time and traveled with two of our friends from Aiken. They have a daughter in Boston and we spent three days sightseeing in the Boston area before our tour started. I couldn’t help but think of LTC Chet Whiting as we toured the area, especially the area around Bunker Hill. If you haven’t read his autobiography, you should get a copy and read it. It gives a great early history of the United States Army Field Band. The band has a copy and I have one. Glad to let you borrow it.
I’m still working on a DMA in instrumental conducting at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC). The program covers conducting, music theory, and music history. After this summer semester, I will have completed 30 hours. I still have a long way to go but hope to finish by the summer of 2001. I’m not in any hurry, just want to learn and enjoy the classes. If you haven’t gone back to school, try it—you’ll enjoy it once you get over the cultural shock. Judy is still working for a contractor and doing the wallpapering for all his newly constructed homes. Also, she has fun playing canasta, antiquing, and shopping with the girls. It’s too hot to ride the horses this time of year but fall will be here soon, we hope.
Judy and I have had a wonderful time this summer visiting with our children and grandchildren. We had a short visit with Paul Chiaravalle in Orlando when we took our three granddaughters to the Magic Kingdom. Judy and I had such a great time that we would like to go back to Disney World for a vacation by ourselves. I think that we must be going through our second childhood.
As I said in my last Commander’s Call, please call us if you are headed south. Huckleberry Hill Farm is a good place to spend the night. Best wishes to y’all.
Finley R. Hamilton (class of 1997, executive officer): If anybody out there is still not aware, COL Hamilton (our past association member) is now the commander of the Army Field Band. The association congratulates him—we know he will take the band to a high level of excellence. Oh, by the way, even colonels volunteer. COL Hamilton said he would support the association in any way possible. I’m sure our editor will find something for the commander to do. (Editor’s note: You can count on that!)
Armand Guarnieri (class of 1951, horn): Guarnieri says hello to his old friends from the Field Band. He sends some sad news—his very best and closest friend from the Field Band days, Dick Stevens, died. If anyone would like to contact Geri Stevens, Dick’s widow, her address is 1809 First Street, Apt. B, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785.
Robert Jorgensen (class of 1972, euphonium): Bob has been director of bands and assistant director of the School of Music at the University of Akron. He was looking forward to guest conducting the Field Band at the annual ABA convention in Florida in March of this year. Bob had a chance to conduct the Field Band last summer in Wooster, Ohio.
Frank Hudson (class of 1980, bass clarinet): Frank is still volunteering with the Annapolis and Baltimore symphonies. He is doing some occasional writing for fun. Frank said he was very impressed with the new Field Band building. (Editor’s note: Frank was sighted at both National and Baltimore symphony concerts this year. He told me the University of Maryland band was playing some of his arrangements. I always enjoyed his charts!)
Larry Hiner (class of 1961, percussion): Larry retired from Ashland University after twenty-three years. He is still playing drums on the weekends with a six-piece group. He is also the Ashland Symphony Orchestra general manager and is still the coordinator of the community park outdoor amphitheater, which seats over 2000. He said he is working on getting the Field Band to perform for a summer concert. The last time the band performed in Ashland was in 1962.
Fred Heeter (class of 1986, public affairs): Fred joined the three-way bypass club! Heart surgery was necessary without delay. The good news is that his recovery has been excellent. He says being a non-smoker, maintaining a healthy diet, and being in good shape made the difference. He had displayed no symptoms?that’s why it’s called the silent killer. Fred is happy to be alive, and sends a message to all to please take care of yourselves, and best wishes for 1999.
Dominic Fiaschetti (class of 1996, public affairs): Yes, there is life after music. Dominic started a business called Window Impressions in 1996. Business has been fantastic! His custom interior shutter business tripled in 1998. He has been so busy he hired our very own Bill Martin (class of 1999, public affairs) to help with the workload. As a result of great sales, Dominic was awarded a cruise to the Bahamas last year, and Acapulco this year. Congratulations are in order to Dominic’s wife, Maryann, a soprano in the Soldiers’ Chorus, as she was selected for promotion to master sergeant.
Burt Hardin (class of 1960, horn and arranger): Burt and his wife Barbara are playing in the Pueblo (Colorado) Symphony Orchestra. He also plays and writes for the Little London Winds of Colorado Springs.
Twenty-two of us filled up two long tables, and included representation from the band’s early days through our most recent retirees.
In attendance were Rick Barnes and Jan Holland, Don Berg, Edith Boyer, Quint and Alfreda Bowles, Roy Carson, Todd Combs, Frank Granofsky, Dan Greco, Joe and Elaine Greco, Scott Holbert, Dom Macaluso, Robert and Hester Paris, Greg Pascuzzi, John Racer, Nick Salatti, Ken and Joyce Stoppelbein, and Jim Tarleton.
It was a good opportunity to visit with friends, share some memories, and catch up on everyone’s activities. Note the adjoining box announcing the fall breakfast, and come join us if you can. We’d love to see you!
As always, spouses and significant others are invited. Everyone is on your own to pay as you go (we did OK with separate checks last time!). Please give Joe (410/761-0715) or Ken (410/544-5654) a call so we have an idea how many to expect.
Come join us!
Plans are already being made for this year’s Holiday Season Party, to be held on Thursday, December 9, from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M. It will be at Blob’s Park, the large German beer garden just off Route 175 at the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The band has had both holiday and retirement parties there in recent years. They always take good care of us, and their food is excellent.
As we go to print, details (the price) have not been firmed up, but you can get more information by calling MSG Sue Kelley of the Field Band Social Committee at work (301/677-6231) or home (410/729-1843). Detailed information will also be provided in the next issue.
Gunnar Johansson (class of 1975, clarinet): Gunnar is the mystery man, a man of many talents: masseur, instrument and camera repair and sales, sun worshiper, and travel expert. You could be anywhere in the world and run into Gunnar. He makes his home in Holjes, Sweden, but when he’s in the United States his residence is at Mike and Vivian Riccobene’s home in Glen Burnie. I believe Gunnar has found the fountain of youth.
David Tucker (class of 1998, Soldiers’ Chorus): David was a soloist in the Soldiers’ Chorus and NCOIC of the component. We don’t have a recent update on what he’s up to since retirement, but the rumor is that he is teaching or is a counselor. Dave, drop us a note when you get a chance. I’m sure the members would like to hear from you.
Anthony Cuci (class of 1969, percussion): Tony is teaching in Chesapeake, Virginia. He spent three years in the Field Band, then taught and played in the Atlantic City area. He went back into the Army and taught at the School of Music for 9 years, ending up with a medical retirement. He said he is happy to be back in touch with his old friends, thanks to the web page.
Donald Caldwell (class of 1971, public affairs): Don was a tour director in the sixties and seventies when the tours were eighty to ninety days at a time. You know, the “good old days.” He left the band for Vietnam, then stayed in the USAR until retirement last year as a lieutenant colonel. One of his special memories of his assignment with the band was when his daughter Lori was born, and just this past August he was blessed with a granddaughter. Don reminisced about the old hospital building the band called home, remembering the old day room, watching Major Fricano and
Dominic Macaluso take a rare pocket billiards break, seeing who could bank the ball the most times before hitting the ball. William Duvall (class of 1965, Soldiers’ Chorus): Another sixties member of the Soldiers’ Chorus joins the association. Bill has not told us what he has been doing these past years, but he would like to hear from the people who were in the band during his assignment.
Nicholas Salatti (class of 1999, public affairs/clarinet): At Nick’s retirement, Rick Barnes put the contribution of the Salattis in perspective, saying that during most of the Field Band’s history there has been a Salatti represented. Nick’s retirement ends the chain, but he does have a son who some day can add a link to the Salatti chain of Field Band members. I can’t believe Nick has been in the band over thirty years—I’m sure getting old. Nick hopes that one of his hobbies will turn into a lucrative business. He has some sophisticated video and recording equipment that he is thinking of putting to good use. If anybody wants old movies transferred to videocassette, give him a call. His number is 410/766-2701.
10 Years Ago / 1989
The Concert Band, Soldiers’ Chorus, and Jazz Ambassadors perform in and around New Delhi, Republic of India, for two weeks. The Jazz Ambassadors tour throughout the country including performances in Calcutta and Bombay.
25 Years Ago / 1974
MAJ Samuel J. Fricano assumes command of the Field Band from LTC Hal J. Gibson, who has been selected to organize and lead the Armed Forces Bicentennial Band & Chorus.
50 Years Ago / 1949
The Field Band marches in its first Presidential Inaugural Parade for President Harry S Truman’s second term in office.
Those of us who have hoisted a glass of spiritus frumenti on the foreign strand have learned to mutter various incantations such as gambay (China), or salut y pesetas (Spain), or even na zravi (Czech), but when egész ségedre (try “eggays shaygedre”) pulls into the mix, the tongue goes numb. “Egész ségedre”—now that’s real paprika! Throw out all you think you know about pronunciation and get out your best fraternization German, because Magyar is a language not at all related to proto-Indo-European, from which all of the other “Euro-lingos” stem. Finnish (Suomeski) is related to Magyar, both coming from Ugric—spoken well east of the steppes of central Asia.
Fortunately for the casual traveler, German is a strongly used second tongue in Hungary. This was our salvation in July 1998 as we made our usual summer jaunt with a busload of Hollanders. Unfortunately, our well-planned sojourn to the land of goulash came acropper due to a lack of good transatlantic communication with our Dutch travel agent.
After arriving in the Netherlands we had to make a quick choice and take second best. This featured ten days at Lake Balaton (Western Europe’s largest) with two quick (two-and-a-half-hour) runs into Budapest. Our bent leans toward the cultural and less to watering holes. Budapest offers two symphony orchestras, an opera company, and a ballet. Many smaller musical groups perform and there are beaucoup museums. And yes, many eateries. None of this would work on the short visits offered. All was not lost! Siofok, the town by the lake, was well supplied with “czardas etterem” (eateries), and the rest of the day could be frittered away studying the various “topless” from the hotel room windows. Since there is no real beach at Balaton, the sun worshipers display on the hotel lawns and strong binoculars are unnecessary.
After ten days we were well stoked up on all of the above and our return to Holland by way of Vienna and southern Germany was welcome. But for the close proximity of a shooting war in Serbia, we would have tried Budapest again this year. Discretion being the better part of valor, Prague will have to do—besides, I speak the language.
Concert Tours Oct. - Nov.
Retirement Ceremony & Luncheon 9/24/99 (RSVP 9/17/99)
Fall Breakfast 10/2/99 (RSVP to Joe Greco)
Holiday Party 12/9/99 (RSVP 12/2/99)
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