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Sep 19, 2023

Army Band from Louisiana and B.D.F Band Hold Mini Concert

Today was National Service Day and it coincided perfectly for the staff at NICH, who partnered with the visiting 156th Army Band from Louisiana and the Belize Defense Force Band to put off a mini concert for children of Stella Maris School. This is the band’s second visit to Belize to celebrate our Independence Day with the B.D.F. Band. News Five stopped by the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts this afternoon, where the event was in full swing. We spoke with the band leaders of the two militaries and Kim Vasquez, who is the Director of the Institute of Creative Arts.


Kim Vasquez

Kim Vasquez, Director, ICA

“What we did here today was to host a special performance for children that was not only a little concert, but also teaching them about music instruments and about the message behind Belize’s theme for independence this year. It was a really enriching afternoon. The band will be performing for – they performed this morning at the relaying ceremony. They will be out at Memorial Park for flag-raising and then up in Belmopan for the official ceremony marking Independence Day.”


Officer Wade Furness

Chief Warrant Officer Wade Furness, Cmdr., 156 Army Band, Louisiana

“Our little mission that we had today was to provide some music to the Belize children and basically we had our jazz combo come out today and they performed several numbers and just tried to give them some excitement during this celebration of Belize Independence.”


Marion Ali

“So, you had music like from what era, what artists, or what bands?”


Chief Warrant Officer Wade Furness

“Yeah, we had everything from, I believe, James Brown, let’s see, just all kinds of different, you know, a lot of Louisiana tunes that we brought in, New Orleans style, a lot of jazz.”


Marion Ali

“And the reception from them?”


Chief Warrant Officer Wade Furness

“The reception was amazing. The kids were excited, they were on their feet, they were clapping. They had a great time, and when they had a great time, we had a great time, of course.”


Bill Kristoff

Staff Sergeant Bill Kristoff, M.P.T Leader, 156 Jazz Combo

“We had to get things that were very interactive, very exciting, something that we can have some participation with. And so we chose songs like James Brown. We brought some Louisiana flavor down because we do a lot of partying in Louisiana in certain times like carnival, and so we brought some of our carnival and our happy music down to Belize so they can kind of dance with us.”


Kevin Campbell

Major Kevin Campbell, Director of Music, B.D.F Band

“There is a partnership between the Louisiana National Guard and the Belize Defense Force for the September celebrations. Now we are pleased, we are very thankful to have the United States Government sponsoring the Louisiana National Guard Band 156 to actually come and to support, amalgamate, join with the Belize Defense Force Band, so we come together as a mass band and we perform throughout the September celebrations.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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