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Navy band coming to West Monroe

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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - America's Navy is coming home to West Monroe, La., one of 22 cities in six states selected to host a performance by the United States Navy Concert Band during its 2014 national tour -- one of the Navy's signature outreach programs.

The United States Navy Concert Band's performance is scheduled for Feb. 9, 2014, 3:00 p.m. at West Monroe High School, 201 Riggs St., Monroe, La. The United States Navy Concert Band, recognized as one of the finest wind ensembles in the world, presents a wide array of marches, patriotic selections, orchestral transcriptions and a modern wind ensemble repertoire. As the original ensemble of the Navy Band, the Concert Band has been performing public concerts and participating in high-profile events for nearly 90 years.

One of the U.S. Navy Band's primary responsibilities involves touring the country. All of the band's primary performing units embark each year on concert tours throughout specified regions of the country, allowing the band to reach out to audiences in areas of the country that do not have opportunities to see the Navy's premier musical ensembles on a regular basis. The concerts are family-friendly events, meant to be entertaining to veterans, families, individuals and those interested in joining the Navy.

"America's Navy has only recently adopted the motto, 'Being There Matters,' but it's been a part of what we do for many years - through music - and therefore Navy bands are integral to our national security," said Capt. Brian O. Walden, the Navy Band's commanding officer. "Today, Navy bands are still performing around the world, acting as agents of public diplomacy for the American government, improving relations with our allies and winning the hearts and minds with the universal language of music."

These national tours return following a year in which sequestration and its impact on outreach spending forced several of them to be suspended. Pentagon officials announced a plan Oct. 18 that enables the military services to resume conducting community and public outreach activities in 2014, albeit at a significantly reduced capacity.

"Community and public outreach is a crucial Departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States military and in its most important asset - people," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an internal memorandum to service chiefs and other military leaders.

"These proactive engagements showcase our superior combat power, demonstrate readiness to defend the nation, and help to preserve the all-volunteer force."

The Navy Band's 2014 tour includes 22 performances in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The band will travel more than 5,300 miles, traveling by bus and truck an average of more than four hours each day.

All Navy Band performances are free and open to the public.

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