"No Finer Calling: A Salute to America's Heroes'

By Patricia Vansant/Executive Director Frankfort A Published:

"As we all know, music will touch the emotional heartstrings of nearly all who listen.  Music has a way of sharing the emotions of soldiers and their families. The 202nd Army Band strives to provide a musical experience representative of the emotions of soldiers and their families," said Chief Warrant Officer (4) Greg Stepp, Commander and Conductor of the 202nd Army Band.

The Frankfort Arts Foundation is presenting “No Finer Calling:  A Salute To America’s Heroes,” a concert by the award-winning 202nd Army Band of the Kentucky National Guard on Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m. in Kentucky State University’s Bradford Hall. 

“The 202nd Army Band is excited to be able to perform as part of the Frankfort Arts Foundation Concert Series. We generally perform in the support of military ceremonies in the Frankfort area, our home station, and welcome the opportunity to play for the general public,” said Stepp who is a former band director at Western Hills High School.

This is a free concert for the community. Citizens, veterans, and students are encouraged to attend, share stories, and enjoy fellowship with others. A reception follows the concert.

The Franklin County Trust for Historic Preservation is the corporate sponsor for the event.

The Frankfort Arts Foundation works in partnership with Frankfort’s VFW Post 4075, VFW Post 9235, American Legion Post 7, and the Kentucky All Veterans Reunion.

For additional information, contact the foundation at 330-2773 or email faf@dcr.net.

About the band

“The United States Army is the single largest employer of musicians in the world. We have over 100 bands that employ over 4,000 soldier/musicians. The 202nd Band was organized in 1947 in Lexington and then was relocated to Ashland. Eventually the unit was shifted to Louisville and finally in the early 1970s, Frankfort became our home station,” said 1SG Jim Wallace, senior enlisted NCO.

Sergeant First Class (SFC) Angela Wilkins is the band’s Readiness Non-commissioned Officer (RNCO) and is the full-time employee assigned to the 202nd Army Band.

“We have a lot of history in the 202nd Army Band and our Sunday, May 20th concert is an opportunity to celebrate that story. Eighteen former members of the band are coming for an alumni reunion and will perform with us.

“What a wonderful testimony to the friendships and special role the 202nd Army Band has played in the lives of these former soldiers,” said Wallace who is also known for his work with Kentucky Historical Society and the KHS Foundation.

Members of the 202nd Army Band include teachers, computer specialists, college professors, professional musicians, and full-time college students from around the state.   Performers have released solo albums, and they play with well-known groups such as the Crossgate Woodwind Ensemble.

“We have 43 exemplary musicians serving in the 202nd Band. We are actively recruiting now and looking for trombonists, euphonium, French horn, oboe, and keyboard performers. It’s a great opportunity for a young person to serve his or her country, get world class training, and have college costs covered,” said Wallace.

About the program

The band will perform the following selections on May 20: “Fanfare and Flourishes” by James Curnow, “Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, “Unbridled Spirit” by Brant Karrick, “Invictus-March” by Karl L. King, “Selections from Wicked” by Steven Schwartz arranged by Jay Bocook.

Also, “The Glory of the Yankee Navy” by John Philip Sousa, “An American Fanfare” by Rick Kirby, “Americans We” by James Henry Fillmore, “Big Bands in Concert” arranged by Bob Lowden, “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood and arranged by Roger Holmes, “Armed Forces Medley” arranged by Diamond, and “No Finer Calling II and III” by Julie Giroux.

“Providing music support which spreads the story of the Kentucky National Guard is a primary part of our mission. The music we perform will be patriotic in nature and will allow us the opportunity to tell some of the story of the Kentucky National Guard,” said Stepp.

This distinguished band has been called upon many times to perform outside the state for special training assignments. Unit musicians have given concerts in Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, West Virginia and Virginia.

The 202nd Army Band is a part of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 751st Troop Command based at Fort Knox.

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