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V.I. National Guard Band Gets D.C. Dancing

Members of the Virgin Islands National Guard's 73rd Army Band perform for a large crowd at National Harbor.FORT WASHINGTON, Md. – The V.I. National Guard’s 73rd Army Band emptied the seats to fill an impromptu dance floor during its final performance in Washington, D.C., at the National Harbor in Maryland on Saturday.

Virgin Islanders from throughout the area came out to support their hometown band, which featured a steel band and calypso combo. One special dignitary in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the steel band performance.

Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen said, “They were really cutting style out here too, you know. Dancing around and moving from pan to pan. I was really enjoying it.”

The Delegate was whisked onto the dance floor by retired Brigadier General Timothy Lake, and they cut a rug to Sgt. 1st Class Francis Callwood’s arrangement of Lambada.

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“That was definitely a treat to us Virgin Islanders here in the Washington, D.C., area, as well as many of the patriots here at the new National Harbor,” Lake said of the steel band’s performance. “Absolutely wonderful and totally well-received.”

Lake and other Virgin Islanders sent text messages and used other social media to spread the word of the band’s appearance. Retired Brigadier General Timothy Lake dances with the delegate to Congress to the V.I. National Guard's 73rd Army Band.

“We have sent out a net call to all of the Virgin Islanders here in the Washington, D.C., area to come on down to the National Harbor,” Lake said.

The retired general sees great value for the Virgin Islands through the 73rd Army Band’s performances.

“This is what you call being ambassadors of the Virgin Islands,” Lake said.

Members of the District of Columbia’s 257th Army Band enjoyed the weeklong merger with the V.I. musicians.

“Just to hear the steel band and the calypso band, it’s just been great,” Sgt. Alicia Coleman said. “A great experience.” Chief Warrant Officer Juan Harrigan directs a combined band Saturday at the National Harbor in Maryland.

Coleman, a clarinet soloist and saxophone player with the 257th, said that if she had to choose between the steel band or the calypso band she would be a saxophonist in the calypso band.

Trumpet player Sgt. Jessica Yocom also enjoyed the experience. “Our product has been amazing and our audience loves the show,” Yocom said. “We’re really going to miss that.”

When asked about the rumor of the 257th Army Band planning a trip to the Virgin Islands for performances, Yocom said she’s prepared. “My bags are packed actually. I’m ready at a moment’s notice. My biki– I mean my gear is ready!”

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