The foundation of The United States Army Field Band's Educational Outreach program is face-to-face interaction with students across the nation. The band and its many chamber groups travel to America's proudest cities and humblest communities, perform for and coach student musicians, and give their teachers educational resources with which to guide the next generation of musicians. When sequestration restricted the band's travel, the Army Field Band became creative, with a little help from Google.
The U.S. Army Field Band joined social network Google+, and the response far exceeded expectation, with almost one million followers to date viewing posts and checking out the latest Army Field Band media resources. Google+ has proven to be an exciting way for the Army Field Band to reach new audiences, but perhaps it's greatest value was in Google+ Hangouts.
Google+ Hangouts are live community video chats, which can connect any two computers with a webcam and a broadband internet connection. Through Google+ Hangouts the band connected with music students across America in their own classrooms—the first such use by any musical organization in the world. Google+ Hangouts are ideal for schools like the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts in Laredo, Texas. Opportunities for students in this underserved border city are few, and brass teacher John Reimund asked The U.S. Army Field Band Brass Quintet to work with his student brass ensemble in a real-time masterclass. The two groups performed for each other, and the quintet coached the student musicians on their upcoming concert music. Connecting through live video chat is a new approach in which the student musicians still get the experience of live, professional feedback.
Since 1946, The United States Army Field Band has brought the excellence of the Army Profession to the hometowns of the American people. The best tools for telling the Army story will always be travel and face-to-face interaction. But between national tours, the Army Field Band now employs the latest technology to reach the American people 365 days a year.