U.S Army Band gives advice to music groups

The Magnet Tribune: Alberto Rodriguez
SoundTown plays for U.S. Army Band members during their Google Hangout session.

U.S Army Band members advised SoundTown members on performance techniques through a Google Hangouts online session Oct. 9 in the Recital Hall.

The U.S. Army Brass Quintet also took part in a Hangout with students in the Ovation Brass on Oct. 16.

“It’s just awesome to listen to world- class musicians from all over the world that are actually playing with this group in D.C. So, we’re getting some of the best instruction you could possibly get,” John Reimund, low brass instructor and Ovation Brass director, said. He helped with the effort to connect Google Hangouts to VMT.

“They’re going to learn how to incorporate Latin rhythms into the music that SoundTown’s playing, in a very authentic style, and of course that makes for a better performance. ”

— Robert Lopez, SoundTown director

Sergeant First Class Todd Harrison and Sergeant First Class Albert Sanchez of “Son Tropical” and the U.S. Army Band discussed authentic Latin sound techniques.

SoundTown first performed “Manteca” by Dizzie Gilespie and received feedback from Harrison and Sanchez.

“They had a lot of knowledge to offer,” stated Robert Lopez, high brass instructor and SoundTown director.

The soldiers’ suggestions were varied.

“A conga player is always needed to fill out that sound of a traditional Latin band,” Harrison explained to students.

“Groups need the distinctive sound of the conga, which also gives you the time,” Sanchez added while discussing rhythms and the feel of the music.

Lopez explained what students were learning.

“They’re going to learn how to incorporate Latin rhythms into the music that SoundTown’s playing, in a very authentic style, and of course that makes for a better performance,” Lopez said.

“Los Años que Me Quedan” by Gloria Estefan was performed next and sung by senior Luz Romero. Sergeants Harrison and Sanchez commented on the performance by Romero.

Lopez was pleased by what students were exposed to.

“It was just a beautiful experience for everybody involved. I think they communicated a lot of their techniques to us that we’re going to be able to use and take the band to a new level, a higher level,” Lopez said.