The 300th Army Band - southern California’s only Army Reserve Band - is a 40-member ensemble and is a subordinate unit of the U.S. Army Reserve and the 63rd Readiness Division.  Under the direction of CW3 Jeff Smith, the band performs in a wide variety of settings, including military ceremonies, formal public concerts, community events, educational outreach programs, music festivals, and radio and television appearances.  The mission of the 300th is to foster the support of the American people for members of the Armed Forces, support diplomatic efforts around the world, and to instill in our Soldiers the will to fight and win.

Performing a diverse repertoire of marches, classical band literature, overtures, popular music, patriotic selections, and instrumental and vocal solos, the 300th Army Band consists of multiple performing components.  The Concert Band is the group’s “flagship” ensemble, and is perhaps the most recognizable part of the organization.  However, each of the band’s other performing groups -  including a ska band, electronic pop trio, brass quintet, woodwind ensemble, and many more - delivers versatile and thrilling musical performances for audiences of all ages.

The Soldier-musicians of the 300th Army Band come from all walks of life.  As Army Reservists, they have other full-time careers or educational endeavors, and many travel as far as 100 miles or more to participate in the band’s monthly rehearsals and performances.  Each member is selected via audition and must pass eligibility requirements for enlistment into the U.S. Army.  Once enlisted, Soldiers complete “Basic Combat Training” as well as 10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at the U.S. Army School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. In addition to being a musical ensemble, The 300th Army Band is a military unit.  Therefore, its Soldiers must be trained in and maintain all basic war-fighting skills, including weapons qualification, physical fitness, and first aid.

The history of the 300th Army Band began on December 1, 1943 when it was activated in London, England.  The unit would later become known as the 300th Army Ground Forces Band when it was reorganized on May 29, 1944.  The band played throughout Europe in support of WWII operations before being inactivated on November 30, 1946 in Germany.  In May of 1947, the band was redesignated as the 300th Army Band, and remained as such throughout the 50’s and 60’s. Then, in 1968, the band was transferred to the Army Reserves, assigned to the Sixth Army, and activated in Bell, California.  The band would change locations two more times before once again settling at its current home in the city of Bell.

Today, The 300th primarily performs throughout the southwest region of the United States.  However, in recent years, the band has also supported operations at Ft. Carson, CO, Ft. Campbell, KY, Ft. Sam Houston, TX, and Ft. Riley, KS.  The 300th was also one of only two Army Reserve bands selected to provide musical support for “Operation: New Horizons” in El Salvador and Panama.  Other recent highlights include performances for President Gerald Ford, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; actors Jon Voight, Gary Sinise, and William Shatner; sports teams the LA Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Jose Earthquakes; as well as music festivals and concert halls throughout the nation.  Regardless of the venue, the 300th Army Band strives to entertain, to inspire, and to use the power of music to instill in the listener a deep sense of pride in our American heritage.

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