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Fort Wood Army Band Performs for Afghan Refuges

Members of Fort Leonard Wood’s 399th Army Band visited Camp Atterbury, Indiana, this month to perform for Afghan evacuees and the Soldiers providing assistance to them, in support of Operation Allies Welcome.
The four concerts, given by the Rough Riders rock band — including Sergeants 1st Class Michael Joseph on vocal and drums and Dan Puls, the lead vocalist, Staff Sergeant Brian Mackie on bass, Sergeant Dgiovahni Denize (joe-VAWN-ee duh-NEE-zay) with sound reinforcement, and Specialist Patrick Haley on guitar and drums — occurred November 13th and 14th at the south-central Indiana installation.
While setting up for the shows, Mackie said, the Afghan children were coming over, some to just see what was going on and others to bang on the bass drum or pluck a guitar string.
“It was a unique setting,” Mackie said. “The kids — as soon as we plugged in, turned on and started playing — their eyes were huge.”
Music is often called an international language, Mackie said, and that was put to the test when the band was given the opportunity to perform with an Afghan singer.
“He got up at one of our shows with a keyboard and sang a couple of songs,” Mackie said. “For us, as musicians, it was a unique and eye-opening experience because they have a different pulse and rhythm to their music. But whether or not you understand the words being sung or the message of the song, you can still feel the beat.”
Mackie said it’s difficult to imagine what the Afghan evacuees are going through, but he’s happy he could do something to help brighten their days.

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