Army band will play first show at FHSSometimes, it helps to have connections. And a really nice, brand-new recital hall doesn’t hurt, either.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Sometimes, it helps to have connections. And a really nice, brand-new recital hall doesn’t hurt, either.
Both of those things probably helped Farmington High School band instructor Jeff Gottwig woo the 451st Army Band out of Fort Snelling and get them to play the first concert in the new high school recital hall.
The 451st Army Band is part of the 88th Regional Support Command, headquartered at Fort McCoy, Wis., but the band itself is stationed at Fort Snelling. Its members are select musicians from the Midwest, who are not only musicians, but also serve in the United States Army Reserve.
“They’re tagged as the top military reserve band in the country,” Gottwig said. “They’re a well-respected band with lots of history. They’ve been around a long time.”
The timing of the concert was strategically set just a few days before Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11. Much of the music planned for the concert, Gottwig said, is in honor of the men and women who have served in the US military.
It’s a concert that has been held at Bethel College in the past. Last year, following the show, Gottwig started to think about bringing the band to Farmington.
“Knowing the new facility was opening, I approached the commanding officer about doing a performance in the new recital hall. They’ve been to several really nice halls. For me to talk them into this, I pretty much assured them they’d have a good audience.”
To make that happen — getting a good audience and all — Gottwig is inviting the entire community to the concert, and the concert is free. He especially hopes that many of Farmington’s veterans and their families will attend.
“If they enjoy the facility and we manage to bring in a decent audience, they’ll make it a yearly event. Their concert is an awesome event that’s geared toward veterans, so we encourage all of the local veterans to attend.”
There will be a familiar face on stage that night, too. Gottwig’s wife, Cheryl Wason, a German teacher in Farmington for 25 years, is also the senior enlisted member in the 451st Army Band. First Sergeant Wason has been an active member of the 451st for 32 years, and has played many roles in that time, including drum major, saxophone player, announcer and platoon specialist.
The 451st Army Band concert will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7., in the recital hall at Farmington High School. For more information, call Gottwig at 651-252-2671. With plenty of seats available in the recital hall, tickets are not necessary — seating will be free and open to the public.
“This auditorium has almost 800 seats, so we’ll take ’em until we fill up and go from there,” Gottwig said.