Army jazz ambassadors return to Alaska after 31 years

Alisha Drumm/Sun Star Reporter
September 25, 2012

On Friday, Sept. 21, the Davis Concert Hall was filled with students, locals and military men and woman alike, as the Army Jazz Ambassadors band had their last performance in their tour of Alaska here at UAF. This tour is the first time the Army Jazz Ambassadors have performed in Alaska in 31 years. The Jazz Ambassadors started their performance with the energetic and upbeat song “Magic” that illustrated the essence of popular 1940’s jazz.

U.S Army Jazz Band Ambassadors played a concert in the Davis Concert Hall on Friday Sept. 21, 2012.  Photo Courtesy of the U.S Army Jazz Band Ambassadors.

The Jazz Ambassadors are a prestigious band from Ft. Mead Maryland, where they represent the men and woman in the Army through their music. According to Master Sgt. Micheal Johnston of the Jazz Ambassadors, it is not an easy process to become a Jazz Ambassador.  “First, you have to know about an opening in the band,” Johnston said.  After that, applicants must send in a CD and a resume.  Once the CDs are reviewed, the best musicians are invited to a live audition where they are evaluated.  After the audition, the applicants are interviewed to see if they will fit in well with the band.

The Jazz Ambassadors certainly represented the prestigious quality of their band members in last Friday’s performance.  The band played music ranging from the smooth jazz of J.J. Johnson to the big band sounds of Duke Ellington. Each member of the band got a chance to show their talent through solos. The band did a great job of keeping the audience in tune as they played 1930’s pop and the modern stylings of Chaka Khan.

Not only did the Jazz Ambassadors give a performance to remember, they sent out a message to remember as well. The Jazz Ambassadors’ mission is to “carry into the grassroots of our country the story of our magnificent Army.”

The Jazz Ambassadors tour the country 100 days out of the year to represent the Army and other branches. The band has played in all  states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan and the Republic of India where they make their mission known.

Another important part of the Jazz Ambassadors mission is to make music education a priority. The Jazz Ambassadors have performed in countless numbers of universities, high schools and elementary schools in the nation to spread the importance of music in the school system.

If there is one thing the Jazz Ambassadors would want everyone to know about their program it would be that “the Jazz Ambassadors is a fabulous tool to get the message out to the entire Army and armed forces thank you for their service, and continued service, as well as thank you to the support of the American community. We represent the quality of our soldiers through our music. And that there are many different ways to serve in the Army, including being apart of the Jazz Ambassadors,” Johnston said.

Friday, Sept. 21 was a performance to remember from the Jazz Ambassadors, as they represented the men and woman in the Armed Forces through their passion and love of music at their UAF performance.

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