The Maneuver Center of Excellence Band Gives Excellent Christmas Concert

My Army band memories came flooding back yesterday afternoon as we sat in the mezzanine of the Bill Heard Theater.  The Fort Benning band, now called the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band, was delighting an almost-full house with its annual Christmas concert, “Ringing in the Holidays!” ( Bill Heard is a 2,000-seat theater.) The band also packed them in again for the evening performance. It got a long, standing ovation at the end of the concert, and, I am sure it was not just because Columbus is an Army town, one that continually shows its appreciation for the Fort Benning troops, but because it was an excellent concert.

Ft. Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence Band's "Ringing in the Holidays" concert, Bill Heard Theater, River Center, Columbus, GA

30th Army Band, Munich, Germany, 1955

The 30th Army Band, the one in which I was a percussionist and drum major in 1954-55, no longer exists, and a Google search produced no history of it.  It was located at McGraw Kaserne, Munich, Germany, which was headquarters for the U.S. Army in southern Germany. 

We also played some concerts for civilians, but our main function was to play for review parades, not only at McGraw Kasern,  but for Army posts all over southern Bavaria.  Every week we would board a bus and travel to other kaserns and posts.  The views could be spectacular as the bus would wend its way to some remote posts high in the Alps.

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8 Responses to “The Maneuver Center of Excellence Band Gives Excellent Christmas Concert”

  1. Joann Locascio Says:

    It was a wonderful concert. I was thrilled to take my Mom to see it with me.
    I wish I had seen you there.

  2. Alyssa Says:

    Hi Dick, I came accross your blog when searching for information about my grandpa, George Kranick. He also was in an Army Band in Germany, during the years 1954-1956. I am not even sure if he was in the 30th army band, but I was wondering if you knew him, or were friends with him, or have an reclaration if he was. This is all simply out of curiousity and I understand if you do not. Thank you, and happy Veterans Day, thanks for your service!(:

    • Says:

      I don’t recall your granddad being in the 30th Army Band. As you know, he was defiantely in Germany when I was there. Thanks for your comment.

      Best regards,


  3. Alyssa Says:

    Thanks anyways, and for taking the time to reply!

  4. Myrna haft Says:

    My husband played the drums in the 30th army band in Munich 1954 to 1956. Leon b Ruben. Did you know him?

    • Says:

      Yes I did. He was quite good. I wasn’t, and I knew it, but I was good enough to know a fine drummer when I heard one. I’ve always been glad I was made Drum Major because it gave me a chance to pull my weight in the band even though my percussion skills were limited. Also, I remember that y’all had a late model Volkswagen and I rode in it with the two of you, but I don’t remember where. David Hackett, a trombonist from the NYC area, and I went in together to buy a car, a 1934 Mercedes taxi. Great car. Hope you two are doing well.

  5. Bob Myers Says:

    I had about the same experence as you did, only it was sept 58 to june 59. I played trombone. At age 75 I am still playing in comunity banbs and orchestra. I played many parades there as the pictures show you did.

  6. Meg Pressley Says:

    Hi, Dick! My father, Wayne Pressley, played trumpet in the 30th Army Band around 1954-1956.

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