Susquehanna University’s Hinton Conducts Army Band in Europe
Published on March 5, 2012
Eric Hinton, associate professor of music and director of bands at Susquehanna University, served as a guest conductor for two performances of the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) Band on March 1 and 2 in Germany. The Hands Across the Sea concerts, showcasing the band and chorus in two towns near Heidelberg, featured additional guest conductors from Germany and Great Britain in an international collaboration.
The USAREUR Band and Chorus, under the command of Lt. Col. Beth T.M. Steele, is stationed at Tompkins Barracks in Schwetzingen, Germany. The group is currently the Army's third largest musical organization—the biggest outside of the United States—and the Army's premier musical ambassador in Europe. It comprises 65-piece concert and marching bands, a 35-member ceremonial group, a 19-piece jazz ensemble, the Night Fire pop/rock group, a USAREUR Groove R&B/soul/pop group, Dixieland band, jazz combo, brass quintet and woodwind quintet. The USAREUR Band and Chorus performs more than 200 times a year, having appeared in more than 20 European and Middle Eastern countries from Russia to Iraq.
Members earn their positions by special audition, and most have performed or taught music professionally prior to their military service. A majority hold degrees in music from highly regarded universities and conservatories.
“This band is the premiere military band in Europe—and Asia for that matter,” said Hinton. “It was a great honor.”
Hinton made an impression on Steele in 2009, when she was a guest conductor at Susquehanna’s Honors Band Festival, an annual event that recognizes the achievements of exceptional high school musicians. “She saw me work with the SU Band, Honors Wind Ensemble and Festival Band, and said at that time she would like to have me over to work with her band in Heidelberg,” he said. At Susquehanna, Hinton conducts the symphonic wind ensemble, symphonic band and stadium band. He is also director of the Susquehanna University High School Wind Ensemble Institute, which brings more than 50 talented wind and percussion students to campus each summer for an intense week of chamber music and wind ensemble performance.
Hinton conducted a performance of “Suite of Old American Dances” by Robert Russell Bennett in a program that included “Exultate” by Samuel R. Hazo, “The Wrong Note Rag” from “Wonderful Town” by Leonard Bernstein, “Band of Brothers Suite” by Michael Kamen and “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa, among other selections.
Hinton extended his trip to work also with the bands at the Brussels American School, which serves children of U.S. service members stationed at NATO headquarters. In addition, about 15 percent of the 310 students enrolled are children of diplomats and military leaders representing NATO alliance and "Partnership for Peace” countries.
Karen M. Jones