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Bringing music to the people

Bandmaster and Guard band serve citizens

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Scott Pierson, Conductor, 133rd Army Band, Washington Army National Guard, uses music to tell the Army’s story. Photo credit: Courtesy photo

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Chief Warrant Officer 4 Scott Pierson understands the power of music.

"We have the great privilege of interacting with the citizens of Washington as citizen soldiers because we all live and work in Washington," Pierson, commander of the 133rd Army Band, Washington Army National Guard (WAARNG), wrote in an email.

"In some of these communities we are the only uniformed members they have ever interacted with."

After serving as a clarinetist in the Marines' MarForPac (Marine Corps Forces, Pacific) Band in Hawaii for four years, Pierson joined the Ohio Air National Guard while in college.

"I joined the military in 1994 after high school because I knew I wanted to serve in the military, and I also didn't know what I wanted to major in in college," the native of Ohio explained.

"Music has been a huge part of my life and having the opportunity to serve while doing what you love certainly made the decision easier."

Upon leaving the Corps in 1998, Pierson joined the Ohio Air National Guard while in college. His growing career as a music educator eventually led him to the Pacific Northwest where he began teaching at North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon. In order to continue to serve and play, he also transferred to the Washington National Guard.

"I found out about the 133rd Army Band when we did a joint holiday concert with it in Auburn in 2005," he continued.

The capabilities of the 133rd are several and varied. It can perform as a complete unit as it does several times a year, or it  perform as several smaller music performance teams simultaneously throughout the state.

Pierson also learned that the 133rd had been without a Warrant Officer Bandmaster since 1991, so he transferred to the WAARNG in 2006 to pursue becoming a bandmaster.

That same year, he also began to serve as band director at Yelm High School in Yelm, Washington.

"As a military member, it has made it easier to understand what my students go through having military parents and the sacrifices they make," explained Pierson.

"The resources I have with various military bands have provided my students with a variety of resources when it comes to performance opportunities and the ability to work with many different military musicians in the region."

To deepen his knowledge and perfect his experience as both Army bandmaster and high school music teacher, Pierson earned his Doctorate in Musical Arts in 2019.

Pierson and the 133rd Army Band personify the adage that a band performs well because it is proud.

"We live in a country of roughly 330 million people and less than one percentserve in a branch or component of the military," he concluded.

"Often, the only people they ever see in uniform, outside of the news, are military musicians that travel to their community and serve as their ambassadors. We have the great privilege of telling the Army story everywhere we go and representing everyone that serves our country to its citizens. There is no greater trust than getting to represent you, telling your stories, and reminding the public the sacrifices you all make every day." 

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