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From Oklahoma to Sea Girt, The Band Plays On..
Photo and story by Lt. Col. James Garcia, NJDMAVA/PAO

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- Woodwinds (front to back) Spc. Jamie Walsh, Staff Sgt. Marc Winans and Sgt. Christine Crawford perform at Sea Girt.
Just returning from a unique Annual Training period in Oklahoma the New Jersey Army National Guard’s 63rd Army Band played on despite rain at their home station at Sea Girt.

The weather forced the public concert to be moved indoors, as the more than 40 musicians showed diverse talents playing a wide selection of musical styles from classic to jazz to rock.

“The band is one of the best jobs in the military, because we get to do something we love to do, all the time,” observed Chief Warrant Officer 2 Durinda Garrison, bandmaster and commander of the 63rd. “We get to go out and make people happy and do our mission on a regular basis.”

When the rock ensemble ripped into Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” you suddenly realize that every member of the audience - young and old - is feeling the groove and tapping their feet. All thoughts of what a traditional Army Band should look and sound like are cast aside when you hear a jazzy sax solo or see two guitarists brandishing Fender Stratocasters - the same guitar used by such rock legends as Eric Clapton and the late Stevie Ray Vaughn.

According to Garrison, “the 63rd performs throughout New Jersey playing summer concerts, parades, supporting military ceremonies, and performing for the Governor and other dignitaries.”

The band doesn’t just perform in-state; it recently completed Annual Training at Fort Sill, Okla. While there, they played Morale, Welfare and Recreation concerts, Basic Combat Training graduations and even a Marine Corps change-of-command ceremony. Garrison noted that this was the first time the entire unit left the state for annual training.

Speaking about what the future holds in store, she also added a bit of good news for aspiring instrumentalists: the band is always looking for musicians.

Table of Contents

Volume 32 Number 4
Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs