The Iowa National Guard’s 34th Army Band is using its talented group of Soldiers to ardently represent the Army National Guard while building positive relationships with the local community.
Dating back to 1918, the 34th Army Band is based in Fairfield, Iowa, and currently has 44 members. Each member is seen as a musical ambassador, tasked with representing the Iowa Army National Guard through music and performance.
The band’s current focus is on developing their small groups, known as Music Performance Teams (MPTs). MPTs are specialized ensembles that focus on specific genres of music and perform in communities throughout Iowa. The use of MPTs helps to expand the 34th’s ability to respond to the many performance requests received for both civilian and Army events in the State. But more than that, the MPTs serve the larger purpose of helping to modernize the image of the Army National Guard within the civilian community, thus building stronger ties.
The 34th Army Band receives performance requests for both civilian and military events, with the majority of requests coming from civilians. Performing anywhere from 50 to 75 acts per year, each of the Iowa National Guard’s MPTs holds performances at venues all over the State. Performances include military ceremonies, 4th of July celebrations, the Adjutant General’s Summer Concert Series at Camp Dodge and the Iowa State Fair. Because MPTs are smaller groups, they are able to perform in a variety of settings including dining halls, hotel lobbies, parks, auditoriums and amphitheaters.
Within the 34th Army Band are four core MPTs, which perform at both civilian and Army events. The core MPTs consist of two rock bands, the Sidewinders and 42 Romeo; a pop ensemble named Scrap Metal; and a woodwind quintet called Synergy Winds. The 34th also has two subset MPTs, a brass ensemble and a brass quintet instrumental group. The subset MPTs are manned with Soldiers from the core MPTs, but these brass groups only perform at military functions. The largest component of the 34th Army Band is the concert and marching band, which brings together the entire 34th to perform as a single unit.