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451st US Army Reserve Band performs Saturday, May 28

Members of the 451st Army Reserve Band are pictured here. They will perform in Hastings May 28. (Submitted photo)

The City of Hastings, Downtown Business Association and the Hastings Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network will present an Armed Forces Appreciation and Memorial Day concert at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at the Rotary Pavilion. The 451st United States Army Reserve Band 88th Reserve Command performance will follow the dedication of the Veterans Memorial at the Hastings RiverWalk.

This is an opportunity for the Hastings community to show its support and salute the men and women of the Armed Forces community, including past and present members, families and Gold Star families.

The 451st Army Band, often referred to as “one of the best in the Army Reserve,” is based at Fort Snelling and is unique among Army bands. The organization began in 1948 as the 330th Army Band, primarily composed of bandsmen from the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas. In the summer of 1949 during their annual training at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin, General Hanford MacNider of the 103rd Infantry Division was so impressed with their musicianship that he made the group his own band. It remained the 103rd Infantry Division Band until 1961, when it was decommissioned and became the current 451st Army Band.

Initially, the unit played concert tours in cities and towns all across the Midwest. The band’s growing reputation of excellent quality took it much further. In 1982, the 451st became the very first reserve band to replace the band at the United States Military Academy, West Point.

Since then, the band has traveled to play missions in Anchorage and Fairbanks; Chicago; Las Vegas; Heidelberg, Germany; Rome, Italy in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Italy; and the 100th Anniversary of the Army Reserve in Washington, D.C. One of its most prestigious mission to date was when it was called to represent the 90th Infantry Division at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France in 1994. The 451st was one of 34 U.S. Army Bands asked to participate, but it was the only reserve unit present for the ceremonies.

Throughout its 60-year history, the 451st Army Band has also hosted various small ensembles, allowing them to reach more communities with their musical mission. Ensembles over the years have included a chorus, a barbershop quartet, a polka band, a jazz band, a marching band, a ceremonial brass and percussion group, a stage band, brass and woodwind ensembles and a rock band.

The May 28 concert is free and open to the community.