Westmoreland community band members will help dedicate World War I memorial in D.C.

Published: 31 March 2024

By Patrick Varine 
via the Trib Total Media (PA) website

Commmunity Band DC

Members of the Kiski Valley Commmunity Band rehearse at the Leechburg Elks on Tuesday, March 26.

Westmoreland County’s five community bands regularly take an annual summer trip together, assembling a group that performs somewhere at their destination.

This year, however, it will be delayed a month, so the bands can help dedicate the centerpiece of the World War I memorial in Washington, D.C.

Members of the Penn-Trafford, Scottdale, Kiski Valley, Delmont and Jeannette community bands will travel to the nation’s capital to take part in the dedication and illumination of “A Soldier’s Journey,” a massive bronze sculpture by New York City native Sabin Howard that will be nearly 60 feet long and 10 feet high when it’s completed.

“This is a pretty big deal,” said Delmont Area Concert Band Manager Charles Amadee. “This sculpture will be the focal point of the memorial from now on. It’ll be something people visit all the time when they come to Washington, D.C.”

The opportunity arose when Scottdale Community Band President Jay Copenhaver was talking with a friend from D.C., Doughboy Foundation Executive Director Jari Villanueva, about the D.C. trip.

“We were just talking about where we might be able to play, and that we were looking for something different,” Copenhaver said. “Jari said ‘Boy, have I got a different one for you.’ And that’s how we got invited as the only community band that’s going to be part of this ceremony.”

In addition, Amadee’s daughter is a member of the U.S. Old Guard Army Drum & Fife Corps, the official military-band escort of the U.S. president.

“We went through the process to request a special ceremonial performance, and they’re going to do a 15-minute show to kick off our concert,” Amadee said.

Among the five bands, a group of 40-50 typically goes on the annual summer trip.

“We might get some more this year because of the importance of the event,” Copenhaver said.

The band will travel to D.C. Sept. 13-15. They will attend a ceremony at the memorial, perform at the city’s Armed Forces Retirement Home and take part in the weekendlong celebration of the memorial with a noon concert on Sept. 15.

Read the entire article on the Trib Total Media website here:

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