Showing patriotism

The United States Army field band comes to the Redfern

Soren Frantz / Senior Photographer

Soren Frantz

Senior Photographer

The United States Army Field Band came to show Keene State College what true patriotism is about.

Staff Sergeant Troy Paolantonio said, “We try and send a clear message telling the Army’s history,  stories and things that are going to remind people of their own service… And even people who haven’t served and haven’t had family members who served, we try to make sure to remind them of how important it is to have a sense of patriotism and pride in our country, and to remember what our soldiers are out there doing for our country on a daily basis.”

Some Keene State students were offered the chance to perform with the band. Toffer Clark, who performed in the chorus, explained, “We got reached out to by our professors and it was sort of a ‘Hey, you’re offered this opportunity to take this if you want it.’ The performance was it, we had one 1 hour long rehearsal and that [was] it.”

While the members of the band do not serve in the same way that other soldiers do, they are required to uphold the same physical fitness as any other soldier in the military by passing through basic training, according to Sgt. Paolantonio. “I think that’s one of the most important things to consider because we train along in the trenches, in the dirt, with weapons, night and day, getting hungry, getting frustrated, and getting broken down and built back up together. We train alongside the people we represent, so it’s good to be able connect with them, and then to come out and to connect with our veterans every time we go play concerts like this,” Sgt. Paolantonio said.

When asked about what inspired his journey to join the band, Sergeant First Class Ben Helgert said, “I had a high school choir director that was so inspirational and I wanted to be that person for other people. I realized in college I didn’t want to teach, I wanted to perform.”

Colonel  Jim Keene, who has been travelling with the US Army Field band for the past five years, said, “It’s really exciting to be at Keene State College at the Redfern Arts Center. The neatest thing about what I do is perform for communities across the country and around the world, but I’ve been an officer as a musician, a conductor, a leader, music leader, for the past  25 years I auditioned, competitive audition with this group, the Army Field Band when I was a civilian.”

More information on the US Army Field Band can be found at

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