When the U.S. Coast Guard Band takes the stage Saturday night at Thunder Mountain High School for a “sold-out” concert, it will be the first time in about 50 years the official musical representation of both the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security has performed in Alaska, according to Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey A. Spenner, assistant director for the band.
“The Band as a whole has not been on tour to Alaska since the late 1970s,” Spenner said in an email interview. “We send small groups more regularly to support ceremonial events at the various Coast Guard stations.
“We are VERY excited to be back in the great state of Alaska! For many of us (myself included) this is our first time in the state!”
The U.S. Coast Guard Band, which includes 53 enlisted members and two officers, is scheduled to play from 7-9 p.m. Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School. The concert is free, but registration was required. As of Friday morning tickets had sold out, but Spenner said while there is not a formal waitlist, patrons without tickets will be seated about 10 minutes before the concert begins if seating is available.
“We often have space to accommodate,” he said.
Spenner said the band does not currently include any Alaskans, but there are some openings — and invited musicians to check out the open auditions listing online at www.USCG.mil/band.
But there will be local faces in the crowd during another in-state performance.
“We will also be joined in Anchorage by members of the 11th Airborne Division Band, stationed here in Alaska, and we are excited to perform with our military musician colleagues,” Spenner said.
Those who attend the concert can expect to hear a patriotic program featuring standards, classics and music written by a band member.
“The concert will be a selection of music including classic wind band standards such as Ronald Lo Presti’s ‘Elegy for a Young American’ (written in memoriam of JFK), vocal selections featuring the band’s new vocalist, MU1 (Musician 1st Class) Alison Anderson, Gershwin’s jazzy ‘Cuban Overture,’ music written by MUC (Chief Musician) Sean Nelson (a member of the band), and, of course, patriotic favorites like Sousa marches and a salute to the Armed Forces.”
Know & Go
What: The U.S. Coast Guard Band
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22
Where: Thunder Mountain High School, 3101 Dimond Park Loop.
Admission: The show is sold out, but patrons may be seated about 10 minutes before the show if seating is available.