U.S. Army Field Jazz Band tells the story of WWII


Elana Guillory/The Lion's Roar

Audience members stand as the Jazz ambassadors of the U.S. Army field Band performs the national anthem. The orchestra played a selection of songs that reflected the hardships and highlights of World War II.

The Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts brought together music and army sentiments through a live jazz performance.

The Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band is a jazz orchestra consisting of 19 members that performed at the Columbia Theatre on Oct. 27.

The jazz band’s show, titled “The Greatest Generation,” musically commemorated the service of veterans and targeted the era of World War II. Throughout the concert, scenes corresponding with different stages of the war played out on a large screen above the band.

Michael Chamberlin, saxophone player for the U.S. Army Field Band, compared the band’s performance to telling of the story of the war.

“That’s what our job is,” explained Chamberlin. “It’s to communicate, to interact and to hear everybody else’s stories. Everybody has a story to tell. We’re telling ours through music.”

“The Greatest Generation” helped people relive memories of their lives during World War II. Janet Toms, an attendee, claimed “The Greatest Generation” allowed her to reminisce and reconnect with her loved ones.

“Well, I think it stirred in a lot of memories from our parents,” explained Toms. “My father fought during World War II, and so it connected me to my parents, and I’m so very proud of my uncle, who just passed away three years ago. He too fought during World War II. So, it’s a direct link to the people I love.”

Captain Jim Siracusa, a 99-year-old veteran of WWII, was held as a prisoner of war after his bomber was shot down over France. Siracusa was recognized during the show.

Chamberlin reflected on the honor of performing for Siracusa.

“We were very lucky to have a World War II veteran in the audience tonight, and we just found out before we went on stage that he was gonna be here,” elaborated Chamberlin. “It’s very rare to have a World War II veteran because there’s not too many left anymore. So we were very fortunate to play for him, and it was great seeing him in uniform as well.”

Annette Willis, native of England, who attended the show expressed the importance of the armed forces of America.

“Only are we living the way we are because of what they do,” said Willis.