The 42nd Infantry Division “Rainbow” Band of the New York Army National Guard, which takes its name from a remark by legendary Gen. Douglas MacArthur, is coming to town for a concert.
The performance is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18, in West Capitol Park in downtown Albany.
It is one of seven shows the band has scheduled in July as part of its annual training.
The 42nd Infantry Division Band is made up of 34 gifted members from across New York state able to emulate a wide range of musical genres. It can be subdivided into a variety of performing groups, including Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quartet, Jazz Combo, Latin Band, Stage Band, Rock Band, Concert Band and Buglers.
“The majority of our skilled musicians are adept at more than one instrument, which enables the band to perform with great flexibility and versatility for any type of military and civic function,” Eric Durr, a spokesman for the New York Army National Guard, said in a statement.
“Band members are called upon as Army National Guardsmen to provide entertainment for civic and military ceremonies, parades and concerts. The mission of the band is to furnish music wherever and whenever while serving our nation and our community.”
The 42nd Infantry Division Band was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. The soldiers provided music and entertainment for their fellow troops, in addition to musical support for soldier memorials and the Chaplain Corps — commissioned naval officers who are also members of the clergy.
The band also conducted Iraqi military and police graduations and “supported security operations.”
The band’s operational base is Camp Smith in Cortlandt Manor.
The 42nd Infantry Division was dubbed the “Rainbow Division” after then-Col. Mac- Arthur commented that the 42nd “stretches like a rainbow from one end of America to the other” in reference to the unusual number of states from which its soldiers first hailed during World War I.
Since then, members of the 42nd Infantry Division have sewn a rainbow patch to their uniforms to commemorate solidarity and honor those who served before them.
“It’s part of the band’s mission to be a representation of the United States Army, most importantly the 42nd Infantry Division,” said Sgt. 1st Class Becky Rapp.
Rapp, of Wappingers Falls, has been a part of the 42nd since 2006. She plays the tenor saxophone in the concert band and is the band’s mistress of ceremonies.
“I just hope that everyone comes out and sees us [in July],” said Rapp. “We have [band members] from Auburn all the way out to the east end of Long Island.”
Personally, Rapp most enjoys playing the more patriotic selections at the end of shows. She said she enjoys watching the audience react to the band’s performance.
“It’s great to see all the veterans past and present that stand up from all different military organizations,” she said. “Some people will clap, some people might even get up and dance. It’s especially nice to see the children get up and dance as well.”
The 42nd Infantry Division “Rainbow” Band of the New York Army National Guard is under the command of Chief Warrant Officer Mark L. Kimes and 1st Sgt. Leslie G. Saroka.
The band will play seven shows throughout the state July 12-21.
For more information on the band and where you can see it on its summer tour, visit www.facebook.com/42ndIDBand or call Sgt. 1st Class Becky Rapp at 914-944-6552.