Residents of Mount Airy and the surrounding area will have the chance to kick off their July 4 celebrations a day early with the North Carolina 440th Army National Guard Band taking the stage for a free concert at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
For those just can’t get enough of the band, a short drive down the road can yield a chance to see a follow-up concert on July 5 at the King Central Park Amphitheatre in Stokes County.
Comprised of citizen soldiers, the 440th performs for troops, their families, and the residents of North Carolina.
The 440th Army Band has served as North Carolina’s National Guard Band under several designations since the early 1900s. The band was activated in World War II as the 30th Infantry Division. Its members were among those landing on the beach at Normandy and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge for which the band carries honors awarded by France and Belgium.
Since the band was re-designated as the 440th Army Band in 1973, it has performed two concert tours in the Virgin Islands, and toured Guatemala, Morocco, Costa Rica, and Italy. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the band has performed more than 500 ceremonies for deploying and returning North Carolina National Guardsmen and their families.
As part of the band re-designation, leaders realized that there was a need to create sub sections of their unit that would be able to perform across a wide spectrum of genres. Today, those sub sections, called Musical Performance Teams (MPTs) include Liberty Brass (a brass quintet), Freedom Four (a sax quartet), Jazz Patriots (a jazz combo), Vanguard (a rock/pop band) and The Guardsmen (a vocal ensemble).
“For their appearance at the Blackmon Amphitheatre, the 440th will be bringing their full concert band and pulling out all the stops,” according to information released by the Surry Arts Council.
The show, which is free, is set to get under way at 7 p.m. For additional information, contact the Surry Arts Council at (336) 786-7998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For individuals who miss the show, or who enjoy it enough to want a second performance, the band will be in concert beginning at 7 p.m. at the King Central Park Amphitheatre, 302 Kirby Road, in King.
For additional information on that show, contact the Stokes County Arts Council at 336-593-8159.