Army Field Band to perform at CHS

21_holtanSubmitted to the I-O by Janie McFarland

Mark your calendars for  Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.  The United States Army Field Band, Washington, D.C. will be performing at the Conrad High School Auditorium, 308 S. Illinois.

Admission to the concert is free, but tickets are required. For more information, watch the Independent-Observer and other promotional releases in coming weeks, or visit the Field Band’s website at

The concert is being co-sponsored by CHS and The Independent-Observer, with assistance from the Pondera Arts Council.

The Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus of The U.S. Army Field Band will be traveling to areas of the West and upper Midwest during their 2012 fall tour, Oct.12 – Nov. 15. The Field Band, formed in 1946, is the Army’s premier touring ensemble, whose focus is taking music to the grassroots of America, connecting the Army to the American people.

The musicians are truly world-class, and they bring a wide variety of repertoire to their audiences throughout the country.

The commander of the Field Band, Colonel Timothy J. Holtan, is no stranger to Conrad. He is married to Conrad native Laurie Matheson, daughter of the late Gordon and Marjorie Matheson.

Matheson is a 1975 graduate of Conrad High School. She attended UofM–Missoula and then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music from MSU-Bozeman in 1980. After teaching K-12 choral music in Chinook for four years, she and Tim were married. They both taught at Great Falls High School for five years, where he was the Director of Bands and Laurie was the Associate Choral Director.

Col. Holtan, a Washburn, N.D. native, is a 1973 graduate of Bismarck High School and a 1974 graduate of Bismarck State College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from MSU and a master’s in music education from  UofM-Missoula. He is the son of Beverly Holtan of Bismarck and the late Orville Holtan, who served as an Army bandsman during WWII.

Military bands and their reputation for high quality music have always been of interest to Col. Holtan. In 1988, he successfully auditioned to become an Army Bands Officer. Twenty-four years later, his career has led him to a variety of locations, to include the Army School of Music in Norfolk, VA; the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Band at Fort Monroe, (Hampton) Va.; Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Va.; The U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own), Washington D.C.; the U.S. Military Academy Band, West Point, N.Y.; and in 2011, Col. Holtan became the tenth commander of the U.S. Army Field Band, headquartered at Fort Meade, Md.

In 2011, Holtan was honored by the University of Montana’s College of Visual and Performing Arts as that year’s Odyssey of the Stars recipient. He has also been named to the Bismarck High School Hall of Fame and was Alumnus of the Year for Bismarck State College.

The Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus are on tour approximately 100 days per year.

To provide variety and to keep the music fresh, the ensembles prepare four different concert programs for each major concert tour.

After performing in Conrad, the band and chorus will be in Great Falls to present school clinics and to participate in the Montana Music Educators Association (MMEA) annual convention and All-State Festival.

As part of MMEA’s 75th Anniversary celebration, The Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus will present a concert on Oct.18 at 7 p.m. at the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition to the concerts in Conrad and Great Falls, other performance venues in Montana will include Belgrade, Billings and Glendive.

Admission to all concerts is free, but tickets are required.

The other two touring ensembles of the Field Band – The Jazz Ambassadors (America’s Big Band) and The Volunteers (pop/rock group) – will also be touring through the upper Midwest this fall.

For the complete tour schedule, ticketing information, news, photos, and free music downloads, visit the band’s website at