Guitarist Pfc. Jamie Holder, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division performs in front of a live audience of fellow troopers, while Spc. Amy McCafferty, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, plays the drums. Holder and McCafferty are two members of the newly-formed band, The Long Knife Edge, performing at the Transformation Chapel April 13 on Forward Operating Base Marez, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2007
By Sgt. Paula Taylor
4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq—Five members of the newly-formed Long Knife Edge band took to the stage for the first time to entertain their fellow troopers assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at the Transformation Chapel April 13.
The band, whose concept was originally formed while the unit was still at Fort Bliss, Texas, awaiting deployment orders, had been practicing once-a-week for the past month in order to prepare for the concert.
The band leader, Maj. Marianne Madrid, an automation management officer for the 4th BCT, said the Long Knife Edge was the idea of the brigade commander, Col. Stephen Twitty.
“Colonel Twitty asked, ‘What do you think about getting a brigade band together?’ He knew I had an interest in music and that I played an instrument. I think it was because we were going to be here without our own division band,” she said.
During the hour-long concert, the group played several rock and a few country songs to the cheers of the crowd.
“The songs came from all the band members,” explained Madrid. “Whatever they bring to the table, we all try to learn. We’re going to be working on more country, rock and R & B for the next concert,” she added.
“Every single one of them is very dedicated,” she said. “They all have a great passion for all types of music. It’s stress prevention. It lets them have fun, relax, and it gives them confidence.”
One of those band members is Pfc. Jamie Holder, guitarist and vocalist from Hemphill, Texas, who said his interest in music began when he was a senior in high school.
“My grandfather showed me three chords. From there on, I just progressed,” he said. “When I finally got my first guitar in Germany, my first duty station, I really started playing a lot more. I used to practice every weekend, four or five hours a day. I found people to play with and had a good time with it.”
Aside from being a stress-reliever, Holder said the opportunity has served to break up the every-day routine of his job.
“I’ve always wanted to perform live. Besides doing like a groundhog day-type thing, where everything is the same every day—work eight hours-a-day, go home, watch movies; this keeps me busy. It keeps me entertained.”
Audience member and Abilene, Texas, native, Pvt. Samantha Limones, 18, said she was glad she came to see them play.
“My battle buddy, Holder, is in the band and he told me about the concert, so I wanted to go and see it. It was a great experience to hear music that we listen to. It was a relaxing time that kept our minds off everything that’s happening over here. They were awesome—really hot!”
The group is currently planning their next concert for summer, 2007. They said they intend on performing at least once every quarter for the Soldiers stationed at FOB Marez and would like to arrange to visit other FOBs through the Ninewa Province.
Other members of the band included Spc. Amy McCaffery, drummer, 27th Brigade Support Battalion from New Canery, Texas, Capt. Matt Miller, keyboard player, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment from Dresher, Penn., and Sgt. Chris Mills, bass player and vocalist, 27th BSB from Theodore, Ala.Members of The Long Knife Edge band perform live during their debut concert at the Transformation Chapel on Forward Operating Base Marez, Iraq, April 13. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)Bass player Sgt. Chris Mills, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, keyboard player Capt. Matt Miller, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, and Spc. Amy McCafferty, drummer, 27th BSB, perform in the band, The Long Knife Edge, before a live audience at the Transformation Chapel on Forward Operating Base Marez April 13. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
Labels: 1-9 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division photos, 27th BSB, FOB Marez 4th BCT, military musicians