eNewsletter, June 2018: Six-String Soldiers Play Houstonfest
A Bluegrass Festival to Honor a Fallen Soldier
In 2010, 18-year-old Houston Caldwell was an up-and-coming banjo prodigy, a volunteer firefighter, and a newly-enlisted Army Reservist. An incredibly versatile musician who brought his infectious energy to every performance, Houston was proficient in bluegrass, old time, swing, and blues, and was becoming well-known on stages across Virginia.
Tragically, not long after completing Basic Training, Houston was killed in a motorcycle accident. His loss was a devastating blow to his loved ones and to the bluegrass community.
But his legacy didn’t end there. Houston’s friends and family created HoustonFest, an annual two-day music festival in Galax, Virginia. Growing each year, HoustonFest now hosts more than 30 bluegrass performances on three stages over the course of two days.. The Six-String Soldiers of The U.S. Army Field Band had the privilege to take part in this year’s festival, their second consecutive appearance. “Being a part of HoustonFest is an honor,” said Staff Sergeant Brandon Boron. “We got the chance to talk to Houston’s family, and they told us how much our performance would’ve meant to him. Military service was very important to Houston, and we’re glad to be able to represent the Army through music, and do so in his memory.”
One of the remarkable aspects of HoustonFest is how well it reflects the person Houston Caldwell was. One of the focuses of the festival is young people, and it offers an array of youth activities. An instrument “petting zoo” provides children the opportunity to try different instruments, and young performers have many opportunities to take the stage. The Houston Caldwell Scholarship awards money to young musicians wishing to pursue a career in music. Because Houston served as a volunteer firefighter, the Galax Fire Department is highly involved in HoustonFest, and proceeds go to the Galax Fire Department as well as local youth music education programs.
Houston Caldwell left us too soon. But the enthusiasm, selflessness, patriotism, and love and talent for music that defined him live on through HoustonFest, and The U.S. Army Field Band is honored to be a part of it.
The U.S. Army Field Band
4214 Field Band Drive STE 5330
Fort George G. Meade MD 20755-7055
301-677-6586 | firstname.lastname@example.org