Military ensembles march on Hughes

On a Tuesday evening, students, faculty and members of the community gathered in Hughes Hall to welcome two military ensembles–the 1st Cavalry Division Black Jack Brass Quintet and the Ear Assault Woodwind Trio. Both groups visited the campus from nearby Fort Hood.

Director of percussion studies and professor of music history and literature Dr. Stephen Crawford was pleased to host the musical guests. He believes it’s good to have a strong relationship with the Army’s music program.

“We’re so close to the military base here, there’s that good rapport. We want to support our guests,” he said.

Crawford was happy with the concert  and its reception.

“They were great ensembles. It was great to hear them both play,” he said.

The 1st Division Black Jack Quintet gives its performance during a military ensembles concert held in Hughes Hall. Photo by Antonio Hebert/The Bells.

Director of instrumental    activities James Whitis was influential in arranging the concert. He was intrigued by the military’s music program when he began learning more about it through a former student who is a retired serviceman.

It took quite a while for him to work through the Army’s red tape.

Whitis said, “We started investigating the process … and it really took a little bit of time to get it done. You know, when you deal with the military, it’s not like UMHB. I mean administratively, you have to go through a lot of different   channels.”

Through perseverance, the concert came to fulfillment.

“Initially I sent an email to one person. They responded (that) I needed to contact another person … on about four levels, I finally got to the right person,” Whitis said.

He shares Crawford’s thoughts on the close relationship that the university and the military base have.

“UMHB and Fort Hood, I think, are good partners,” he said. “We have a lot of military students here, and I just felt like it was important to try and make a connection for the music department, so that’s what we did.”

Music professors were not the only ones impressed. Freshman education major Lauren Ribera attended the concert and enjoyed it.

“I am a big music fan,”

and they were very much a joy to watch and very talented,” she said.

The energy the groups displayed drew her in.

Ribera said, “I thought they were awesome. I remember one of the leaders of the band being so excited that it looked like he might fall out of his chair …. They were a joy to watch.”

Author: Antonio Hebert

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