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The 133rd Army National Guard Band provides more than just music

Band is public face to Guard in civilian communities

The 133rd Army National Guard Band shown during their 2017 holiday concert in Auburn. Photo courtesy Washington National Guard

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"Where words fail, music speaks," Hans Christian Andersen.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Scott Pierson, commander of the 133rd Army National Guard Band, knows this quote to be true. For the past 11 years, he has seen his group of Guard musicians wow crowds in communities throughout the state.

Pierson, not only the commander but the 133rd Band leader, has emphasized to his members to be aware that they are a public face to the Washington National Guard in communities that might not get exposed to servicemembers too often.

"It's a pretty amazing job and we get to go out and interact with the public on a regular basis and interact with all of the different units within the state itself. Then with our educational mission we get into high schools, middle schools and elementary schools and carry the message of the Washington National Guard to everyone," Pierson said. "In some of these communities we are the only uniformed members they have ever interacted with."

The 133rd Army Band is a diverse group of musicians, ranging from teenagers to mid-50s. Like most guardsmen, they come from every background across the state, including many that are educators and professional musicians. Although his time in uniform predates the 133rd Band, famous musician and producer Quincy Jones traces his roots to the Washington National Guard's 41st Division Band. Jones joined the group as a 14-year-old and spent his time learning the small ensemble with honing his craft.

"The band is an exceptional unit in the Washington National Guard. Our job is to support the troops in ceremonies and different types of events," said Pierson. "Also for community outreach and community relations, as well as educational outreach missions, so our purpose is three-fold."

The 133rd is also unique due to their structure. The members are broken into three ensembles, or music performance teams: a rock band named Full Metal Racket, the traditional brass band, Patriot Brass and swinging Dixieland band, the General's 7 Dixie Band. These different ensembles fit into every type of request, serving the community and representing the Washington National Guard.

During the holiday season, all three of the 133rd Band's groups will come together for their annual Red, White and Blue Holiday Concert.

"Our major holiday performance is at the Auburn Performing Arts Center at Auburn High School," said Pierson. "It's free, but it is encouraged to get a ticket because the seating is limited. They only have about 1,100 seats and it gets packed every year,"

This year's show will take place Dec. 2, 2 p.m., in Auburn.

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