Mt. Lebanon alumna brings fellow U.S. Army Band musicians home for performances
The mournful strains of “Taps” echo through Arlington National Cemetery an average of 30 times a day. As a member of the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, Staff Sgt. Adrienne Doctor has performed on many a solemn occasion at the cemetery.
The 2007 Mt. Lebanon High School graduate returned to her alma mater recently, bringing several fellow brass players to perform at the school’s annual band festival. They also conducted instrument-specific classes for musicians in the middle and high school bands.
“It’s a great experience for the students,” Richard Minnotte, the school district’s director of percussion studies, said. “They need to hear top-level musicians. That’s what they’re aiming to do.”
In Doctor’s case, she took her Mt. Lebanon music experience to the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, earning her bachelor’s degree in music education and working on her master’s in trumpet performance.
During her visit, she performed as part of a brass quintet with Sgt. 1st Class Craig Arnold of Upper Saddle River, N.J., bass trombone; Staff Sgt. Kevin Gebo of Tallahassee, Fla., trumpet; Staff Sgt. Christy Klenke of State College, French horn; and Sgt. 1st Class Gus Mitchell of Boise, Idaho, trombone.
All are with the ceremonial band, which is part of the 93-year-old U.S. Army Band, known as “Pershing’s Own” after its founder, Gen. John Pershing.
“Our main job is to support musical activity in the Washington, D.C., area,” Arnold said about the ceremonial group. “We play for the president at least twice a year.”
Performances also are for the likes of top military leadership and foreign dignitaries.
“The Pope was just here. The president of China was just here. It’s quite a profound experience for all of us,” Mitchell said.
The ceremonial band supports more than 2,000 military funerals each year in Arlington.
“It’s an honor to be able to perform the services we do for fellow soldiers and to support the military in that way,” Klenke said.