Story and photos by Pfc. Andrew Ingram
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Fort Carson Soldiers, Families and members of the Front Range community gathered for an evening of music and holiday cheer during the Ivy Division Band’s Holiday Concert at McMahon Auditorium Dec. 8.
The band thrilled members of the community with a lively assortment of classical, jazz, pop and rock ‘n’ roll, all geared toward the holiday season.
As members of the Fort Carson and Colorado Springs communities began to fill up the theater, 1st Sgt. Cornell Harrington, senior enlisted leader, Ivy Division Band, 4th Infantry Division, predicted the audience would get into the show as the Ivy Division Soldiers ran through everything from classic Christmas standards penned by Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon.
“Tonight I am looking forward to a great time with a good audience,” Harrington said. “The band has just returned from a deployment to Iraq, and I think it is an outstanding thing to get an organization together so quickly to put on a show for our community.”
The band kicked off the show with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” then moved into a medley of classical Christmas standards before the musical performance teams — smaller groups of players with a focus on specific genres — took to the stage to entertain the audience with a mixture of jazz, pop and rock.
“I’m really excited about the popular music stuff,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus May, saxophonist, Ivy Division Band. “I love playing classical music, but I like seeing the audience get into it and the pop and rock music, it’s usually what they relate to the most.”
May said he enjoyed the opportunity to play for military Families and Colorado Springs citizens again after performing almost exclusively for military members and Department of Defense contractors during the band’s yearlong deployment to Iraq with the Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Inf. Div.
“I really enjoyed playing for the Soldiers in Iraq,” he said, “but it is great to come home and play a big show like this. We are funded by the taxpayers, and any time we can play for the people who are paying our bills it’s a great thing. It is a lot of fun to play for the community.”
The opportunity to play music to lift the spirits of Soldiers and people in the community is a great honor, said guest vocalist Spc. Senobia Smith, medical supply specialist, 10th Combat Support Hospital, who is in the process of becoming a full-time member of the band.
“It’s exciting to come out here and sing again,” said Smith, who received classical vocal training at Ohio State University before joining the Army. “Everyone has been so great; I never expected to be able to use my talents like this while I was in the Army.”
Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, and his wife, Beth Anderson, said they thoroughly enjoyed their first full-length concert by the Ivy Division Band.
“I loved their enthusiasm and liveliness,” the general said. “Their passion for what they do is evident and I really enjoyed the show.”
Pfc. Anthony Hoger, signal support systems specialist, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., said he thought the mix of traditional classical Christmas music and the more modern leanings of the musical performance teams made for a unique experience.
“This is my first time I’ve seen the 4th Inf. Div. band,” Hoger said. “I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I had a great time and I would love to see them do a lot more shows like this.”