The Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band to perform free concert at Raue Center

Raue Center for the Arts is hosting a free concert performed by the Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. at the 750-seat theater at 26 N. Williams St. in historic downtown Crystal Lake.

The Jazz Ambassadors is the official touring big band of the United States Army. From the big band sounds of the 1940s to the contemporary hits of today, the members of the Jazz Ambassadors present a versatile musical program that has earned them international recognition and appeals to all ages.

One of the finest big bands in the world today, the Jazz Ambassadors of Washington, D.C., tours thousands of miles each year to promote patriotism and goodwill for the U.S. Army through free public concerts.

The Army's official touring big band has appeared in a variety of high-profile contexts, including performances with the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Syracuse Symphony.

During a joint performance with the National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Marvin Hamlisch declared, "I can't think of better ambassadors for our country." This collaboration with Maestro Hamlisch has included the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Pops, the Colorado Pops Orchestra, and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

Other recent, notable performances include appearances at the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont, the Jazz Education Network Conference in Louisville, Ky., the Kennedy Center Honors, and "The Colbert Report."

A highly competitive audition process draws candidates from leading conservatories, universities, and the professional ranks. Many members of the Jazz Ambassadors have extensive civilian performance experience.

Alumni have gone on to careers in university teaching, studio recording, and performance.

In 1969, Army Field Band Commander Major Hal Gibson formed the Studio Band in response to an increased demand for jazz performances. The Studio Band became the Army's premier touring jazz ensemble and was renamed the Jazz Ambassadors in 1979. The band has appeared in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and throughout Europe. Whether at a world-renowned venue or playing in the grass-roots of America, the Jazz Ambassadors impress audiences with their virtuosity. The ability to connect with their audience has attracted the attention of Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, and the Dave Brubeck All-Star Quintet, just a few of the outstanding jazz artists who have shared the stage with America's Big Band.

Concerts by the Jazz Ambassadors are programmed to entertain all types of audiences. Many of the ensemble's members arrange and compose music highlighting the group's creative talent and gifted soloists. Their diverse repertoire includes big band swing, Latin music, contemporary jazz, bebop, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, and patriotic selections. Wherever they travel, the Jazz Ambassadors proudly carry the message of patriotism and goodwill to audiences worldwide.

This is a free-ticketed event. To claim your tickets, stop by the Raue Center box office at 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, or email

The Raue Center for the Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of all through the arts. For 20 years, they have provided quality programming - striving to make it pertinent, available, and affordable to all. As a painstakingly restored, 1920s regional showcase theater named for its benefactor - Lucile Raue - Raue Center has attracted the finest stars, Broadway shows, musicians and artists. Named on the League of Historic American Theatres, Raue Center is one of the finest examples of restored art and decor in the nation.

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