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A Military Job You Didn't Know Exists

Scott Wolford
Army band members Zach Putnam, Morgan Davidson, Tyler Putnam, Loren Clark and Trevor Watson before a performance at Hill Air Force Base

The announcement that the military would sponsor Army Bands throughout the country was made in 1922. Now there are hundreds of different army bands across the country in every state including Utah.

Sergeant Zach Putnam and his brother Sergeant Tyler Putnam represent Utah and make up the 23rd Army rock band.  The brothers are often asked what it is like to perform together.

"It’s a lot of fun," they said.

"Actually in the unit that we’re in, there’s a lot of relatives. A lot of times, I think in the National Guard, one of the members of the family joins and it seems that usually a sibling will join along,” said Zach.

The entire 23rd army band consists of several small groups that play a variety of events around the state. 

“So we have a rock band, we have a brass quintet, we have a woodwind quintet, we have a jazz combo,” Tyler said. “There’s many different groups, because there’s a lot of different functions that exist throughout the state of Utah and our job is to be able to fill the needs of those different types of events.”

The rock band often performs at the military airport in Salt Lake City when soldiers either leave for or return home from deployment.

“Especially when we had a lot of soldiers returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan, we would do welcome homes,” Zach said. “And we would be invited to the Salt Lake air base and we would play music for them as they are getting off the plane. It’s a very emotional experience and it’s really neat to see their families excited to see their loved ones.”

Band members not only take to the road in Utah but are sometimes asked to represent the military outside of the United States.   

'The most recent adventure we had, is we went to Morocco, which is Utah’s sister country," Zach said.  It was for public relations."

"We worked with the ambassador, the United States ambassador to Morocco, plus some ambassadors for Morocco and they led us around the country and we played different shows for the people of Morocco," Tyler said.

Because the band is so unique Tyler said it is difficult to determine effective their  how effective they are as representatives of the army.

"It’s hard to measure," he said. "It’s hard to measure the effectiveness of  how music makes you feel, or the difference that it makes. But I believe it makes a difference. It’s obviously important enough that it exists in every state in the country. They all have army bands.” 

During the 2015 Veterans Day the Putnam brothers will be performing with high school choirs from the Granite School District at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.