The halls of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District were filled with the lively sounds of music this past Sunday as the community gathered to hear a performance by the Sounds of Freedom Military Concert Band.
Held in the Liberty Ballroom, the band played Midway March, Zoot Suit Boogie, Emblem of Freedom, and more. The concert ended with a performance of Star Spangled Spectacular; accompanied by the sound of the crowd clapping to the beat of the music, and at the end was met with a round of applause.
Monte Gmur, Director of the Sounds of Freedom Band, has served as a driving force in the promotion of the band and its mission for nearly 20 years.
“We are a part of the Central California Chapter Association of the United States Army, which is the voice of the American soldier,” said Gmur. “We present five formal concerts like this one every single year.”
The Sounds of Freedom Band was formed in 1984 by a group of veterans from the American Legion Post 509 in Fresno, CA. The band’s purpose was to commemorate the end of World War II but has since grown into something much more. The Association of the United States Army Military Concert Band, “Sounds of Freedom” proudly maintains the tradition of the American concert band through acclaimed performances of notable band literature. Recognized by the Congress of the United States of America, the band is the proud recipient of three Congressional Citations for its outstanding service.
The band is composed of volunteer musicians who donate their time to the organization and consists of individuals of various ages; with its oldest member being 100 years old. Some members are veterans, while others have no military connection whatsoever. Members of the band come from all walks of life to help provide the community with a group of patriotic, dedicated, volunteer musicians who honor active-duty military, veterans, and their families through music.
The band also performs for military ceremonies such as changes in command for the active military. It has performed at bases and stations across California including Naval Air Station Lemoore, the United States Coast Guard Base in Alameda, and the Army Corps of Engineers in Sacramento. It also performs for local community events such as the Caruthers Fireworks Show and the Central Valley Veterans Day Parade.
“We perform anywhere our presence might enhance a veterans event,” said Gmur. “We perform wherever and whenever we’re called.”
“It’s inspirational to see other people apply their talents towards making others smile and in the process, honoring this great nation with wonderful music and passing the baton to the next generation by showcasing these beautiful works of art,” said Lorenzo Rios, CEO of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
Established in 1946, The Clovis Veterans Memorial District’s mission is to provide a permanent living memorial honoring the United States military and veterans, provide facilities and support programs to promote a legacy of service, and preserve the community and country’s foundational ideals.
“Our purpose is to serve as a permanent living memorial honoring the service of those who have paid the ultimate price,” said Rios.
The Clovis Veterans Memorial District will be holding its “Remembering 9/11” Virtual Exhibit to educate the public more about the event of 9/11 and reflect on a day that will live in the memory of all, and remember 9/12 when the nation came together to rebuild.