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News | Nov. 18, 2022

39th Army Band plays at Capitol Center for the Arts

By Sgt. Bei Simmons

In honor of Veterans Day, the New Hampshire Army National Guard's 39th Army Band joined about 40 high school students and local musicians for a patriotic concert Nov. 11 at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord.

“We’re here to honor the veterans who served and sacrificed for the country in our own way,” said Warrant Officer Franklin Montenegro, commander of the 39th. “We’re also here to thank the community for their support by creating this show specifically for them. We can’t do what we do without them.”

The evening performance, which drew more than 900 people, signified the start of a new partnership between the New Hampshire Army National Guard band and the state’s largest and most diverse entertainment venue. The show was presented as part of the William H. Giles Trust Concert Series.

“I’m excited about a lot of firsts,” Montenegro said. “It is our first time playing with the civilians and high school students. It is also our first attempt at a very complex show script that includes three different ensembles and quick stage transitions.”

Sgt. Lily Rousseau, bass guitarist and a college senior majoring in music education, was particularly excited about the collaboration with high school students. She recently redesigned the band’s website and included a page specifically for educators.

“I hope the message comes across to the students that music is a lifetime commitment, if you want it to be,” she said. “It’s meant to be fun. I choose to continue because it makes me happy.”

Rousseau considers the experience a mentorship opportunity and hopes to play a greater role in teaching future musicians.

“I really like interacting with students on a personal level,” Rousseau said. “I hope we get the privilege to do this every year and build a lifelong connection with the schools.”
Educators and local artists helped bolster the performance.

“I was very delighted when I was invited to perform tonight,” said Dan Lorenz, guitarist, and educator at Timberlane Regional School District. “It gives us a great opportunity to honor the veterans. It’s really invaluable and priceless to any student in my book”

Preparation for the concert required a lot of time and commitment from the Guard musicians.

“I’m proud of the soldiers for their professionalism and their teamwork to put together the show in three months and two, long drill weekends on top of our other performance commitments,” Montenegro said. “It’s their belief in the cause that made this possible.”

The night’s final song, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” received a standing ovation.

“I really would like to thank the staff of the Capitol Center of the Arts for their support,” Montenegro said. “I hope that we will build a long-lasting partnership with them and make this into a yearly event.”