The 1st Cavalry Division Band performs "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for the Fort Hood community during a holiday concert Dec. 8 at Palmer Theater. “The band had always been a part of the op tempo. I believe this is the 1st time in four or five years that there has been a concert on Fort Hood and it turned out really nice,” stated Sgt. Elliot Chodkowski, a keyboardist assigned to the band.

U.S. Army/Spc. Angel Turner

The time of year for holiday cheer, togetherness and famous Christmas songs has arrived.

Soldiers assigned to 1st Cavalry Division Band performed a holiday concert for the Fort Hood community at Palmer Theater on Dec. 8.

“The holidays are a time for family and celebration,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, the 1st Calvary Division commander. “We can think of all sorts of images for this time of year but it’s the sounds, those special unforgettable notes that always get us in the right mood.”

The concert, themed “Christmas Through the Years,” drew in the crowds of people. Many families in attendance joined together to hear favorite holiday tunes, a treat from the band to them.

Accompanied by her husband, a soldier in the division, and her daughter, Diana Glynn said she looked forward to hearing the band.

“I never saw a military band perform and wanted my 3-year-old daughter to get a chance to experience the fine arts,” Glynn said. “It’s nice to support them and I think this helps build the morale of other soldiers.”

The division’s concert band and specialty bands, to include brass, jazz and rock, showcased the variety and capabilities of the band by doing their own rendition of holiday favorites.

“This is good for the holidays,” said Rickey Bell who is retired military. “It’s good for people on the installation to have the chance to enjoy a free concert, especially the people that are not able to go out of town for the holidays. Overall this is something good for the community.”

Throughout the concert, soldiers donned various costumes to resemble famous singers known for performing specific versions of songs. The crowd interacted by singing along and moving to the beat.

“We entertain troops and we do ceremonies, but for some of our groups this is the first time they really had the opportunity to play for an audience,” said Chief Warrant Officer-5 Jeanne Pace, band master and commander of the band.

Toward the end of the concert, the band dedicated a song to all those who will be separated from their family and friends during the holiday season.

“That’s what we’re all about — morale, especially at special seasons like this, to help people kick off their holidays and have remembrances of family time,” Pace said.

Before starting the song, “Home for Christmas,” the audience viewed holiday shout-outs from the division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, which is currently serving in Afghanistan. During the song the reality of the separation of family and friends during this time of year appeared evident.

At the conclusion of the concert, the band received a standing ovation. With the crowd happily cheering, the hard efforts of the band indeed paid off.

“I think it was a success,” said Sgt. Elliot Chodkowski, a keyboardist assigned to the band. “With the limited time to prepare, I think we executed and made everyone ready for the Christmas season.”

The group of soldiers look forward to performing again next year if their deployment schedule allows for them to do so.

“The band had always been a part of the op tempo. I believe this is the first time in four or five years that there has been a concert on Fort Hood and it turned out really nice,” Chodkowski said.

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