Harrisburg High School provides many opportunities for its young musicians throughout their high school careers. From concert and symphonic band during the school day, jazz band before school, and marching band spanning the summer and fall months, there is music to be made constantly. Recently, the high school has provided a unique opportunity to their music students as the 147th Army Band made an appearance on January 13. Harrisburg High School was one of the many stops they made during their school tour. While they performed, the band played many pop and rock songs to entertain the audience.
Not only was the performance special to the students because of the unique opportunity, but the students also recognized a familiar face in the band. Jason Groon, band director at the high school, has been a member of the 147th Army Band for twenty-three years. He says he got involved in the band because both his best friend and high school band director, who were both members of the band themselves, convinced him to sit in on a rehearsal; after viewing the rehearsal, he was convinced to join.
One of the goals of the tour is to show the public the variety of positions that the military offers. “Often people think the military is just like what you see in the movies or on video games. The reality, however, is that the military also has doctors, lawyers, musicians, IT specialists, plumbers, engineers, etc.,” Groon says. The 147th Army Band, like any other National Guard unit, meets one weekend a month and two weeks of the year in order to prepare for their performances. One of the missions of the Army Band is to “build connections with the citizens we serve,” says Groon. Their school tour, which spanned eight schools, extended their outreach to the community. “The audiences seemed to be engaged and my hope is that everyone had a good time,” recounted Groon.