1st AD says thanks to El Paso: An American Holiday Festival

The 1st Armored Division Band performs its 11th annual holiday concert to give thanks to the El Paso community at the Plaza Theatre Saturday. Photos by Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

The 1st Armored Division Band performs its 11th annual holiday concert to give thanks to the El Paso community at the Plaza Theatre Saturday. Photos by Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

By Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff:

(El Paso, Texas, Dec. 7, 2017)

The 1st Armored Division Band wowed a packed Plaza Theatre in El Paso Saturday with the band’s 11th annual holiday concert for the Fort Bliss and El Paso community, “An American Holiday Festival.”

The show was a way for Fort Bliss to say thank you and give something back to El Paso for the holiday season. The show was open to the public and free of charge. The band redeployed from Iraq for only three weeks to put on the performance.

Capt. Joel DuBois, commander, 1st Armored Division Band, said the band wanted to show the community how hard they have been working.

The doors opened at 6:45 p.m., but people were already lined up long beforehand, eager to get a seat. Ten minutes before the show kicked off, the theater was completely full.

The 1st Armored Division Band performs during “An American Holiday Festival” at the Plaza Theatre Saturday. The background photo shows Sgt. 1st Class Leon Butler, a member of the band who is deployed, and his spouse, Jeanie Butler.

Brig. Gen. Mark H. Landes, deputy commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, highlighted the strong relationship between Fort Bliss and El Paso.

“The ensemble gathered here tonight perfectly reflects the strong partnership between the city of El Paso and Fort Bliss, a partnership that has directly enabled us to accomplish our mission while deployed,” Landes said. “The city of El Paso, its citizens, the academic institutions have played a vital role in the success of Fort Bliss and our deployments. That is something very few communities can say and that’s one of the reasons I am so proud to take part in this special community.”

Sgt. Anne Lee performs a solo piano piece during “An American Holiday Festival” at the Plaza Theatre Saturday.

Landes also noted that more than 50 talented local musicians joined him on stage.

In addition to the 1st Armored Division Band, musicians from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, members of the New Mexico National Guard, Professor Brian Downen from the University of Texas at El Paso, several talented students form UTEP’s music program, and Rick Graven, organist at the Church of St. Clement, the Plaza Theatre and the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, performed.

Brig. Gen. Mark H. Landes, deputy commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, provides opening comments for the show.

The Iron Outlaws, the 1st Armored Division Band’s country band, performs during “An American Holiday Festival” at the Plaza Theatre Saturday.