U.S. Army’s Volunteers to play Williamsport
Get ready to be rocked – by the U.S. Army.
The Volunteers, the touring rock ‘n’ roll group of the army’s field band, will play a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
“Typically, when people think of a military band, they tend to expect John Philip Sousa – marches and patriotic music,” said Master Sgt. John Lamirande, audio engineer and element leader for the band. “This is not that typical music.”
A five-piece band consisting of two guitarists, bassist, drummer and keyboardist, The Volunteers play a unique blend of American popular music, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, patriotic tunes and country music.
For the Williamsport performance, audience members can expect a 1970s classic rock theme, Lamirande said.
“This is going to be all classic rock: Tom Petty, Thin Lizzy (Bruce) Springsteen, Heart, Elton John,” he said.
The first incarnation of the band began touring and playing shows all over the country in 1981, and have played in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait and Iraq.
They tour more than 100 days per year, Lamirande said.
Despite being made up of members of the army, the band’s membership doesn’t rotate very frequently – which is good for keeping consistency within the group.
“It’s not really a rotating membership,” Lamirande said. “We’re in a pretty stablized position now. Our keyboardist retired last year, but our lineup has been essentially the same for the last few years.”
While The Volunteers are “still an army band,” they’re trying to attract different demographics with their performances.
“We play in high schools a lot and try to bring in a younger audience as well, especially with the music we have planned for this year’s theme,” Lamirande said. “Think the crowd that you’d see at a Pink Floyd cover band show – that’s the audience we’re going for.”
He said that people often think of the more old-fashioned music that other groups of the army field band play, like the jazz ensemble and concert band.
“We have a difficult time getting to a different audience,” Lamirande said.
However, he hopes that will change with the year’s performance.
“People can expect to have a great time with some great rock ‘n’ roll,” he said.
The Volunteers are:
SFC April Boucher, vocals.
SSG Randall Wight, vocals and keyboard.
SFC Tom Lindsey, guitar.
SSG John Brandon Boron, guitar.
SFC Peter M. Krasulski, bass.
SSG Glenn Robertson, drums.
MSG John Lamirande, audio engineer and element leader.
SSG James Little, lighting technician.