JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Throughout the halls of a vintage brick building on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, a medley of musical instruments echo in harmonious symphony.
However, these halls will soon fall silent, as the musicians of the 323rd Army Band, also known as “Fort Sam’s Own,” make preparations for their final reunion concert, “As Time Goes By,” at the historic Alamo in downtown San Antonio Sept. 24.
The 323rd Army Band approaches its impending dissolution by fall of 2018. Consequently, this move also signifies the end of an annual tradition – the reunion concerts.
“The final reunion concert is kind of our last hurrah,” said Spc. Kyle Noonan, a bassoonist with the 323rd Army Band. “It’s a chance for us to celebrate the time that the band has been here before we disband.”
“We have 52 musicians, so we’re a little bit larger than the average Army band,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Ward, bandmaster commander of the 323rd Army Band. “However, we’re getting smaller and smaller as we get closer to our inactivation Oct. 15, 2018.”
For every reunion, the unit invites former band members, active duty and retirees, as well as any other Army musicians to perform in their ensemble.
“What makes this event special is the honor to get all of the people who have ever served at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston as a part of this band, from the Fourth Army, Fifth Army and the U.S. Army Medical Command Band,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Jones, a music performance team leader with the 323rd Army Band. “We bring all of these folks together, in addition to our band, that we have on active duty and we all make this performance happen.”
According to Jones, the final reunion concert will leave a lasting impression upon the residents of San Antonio.
“This is a piece of tradition that people will remember, and for years the people of San Antonio will always remember this band and show what the Army music program has to offer,” Jones said.