In June of 1943, The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” was ordered overseas to perform for American fighting Soldiers and Allies in Europe. During that two-year overseas tour, a representative element known as the “auxiliary band” was established to fulfill the diplomatic and military ceremonial needs in the nation’s capital. Eventually that group was renamed The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band.
Since its original organization, The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band has grown to meet a wide range of commitments. While the Ceremonial Band’s primary mission is to support over 2,000 military funerals each year in Arlington National Cemetery, the band performs other missions of national and international importance. These missions include wreath laying ceremonies by heads of state and other foreign dignitaries at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, monthly retirement parades, special reviews, and arrival and departure honors for foreign dignitaries at the White House and Pentagon. Recent major events include 2009 Presidential Inaugural festivities, the State Funerals of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald R. Ford, ceremonies honoring Her Majesty the Queen of England Elizabeth II during her visit to the United States in May 2007, and nationally televised PBS broadcasts of the National Memorial Day and A Capitol Fourth! concert events with the National Symphony Orchestra.
The 70 musicians of The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band come from some of the most prestigious music conservatories and universities in the country. Beyond their ceremonial roles, members of The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band routinely display their versatility and superb musicianship while performing with other elements of The U.S. Army Band, in chamber group performances, on recital programs, and as soloists for summer concerts.
Commitments performed by The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band are some of the most visible missions performed by The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”