Reserve Bands in USA
So I was wondering if someone could give me an overview of how the reserves work in the USA. Basically, I'd like to know in what services are there bands? How often do they work? Are these bands a descent playing level?
Also, Where could I find more info on webpage ?
Basically, My idea is that in 2 years time I might be going to study in the states. AS a canadian, there is an understanding between both our gouvermants for reservists who want to work in others countries. Basically, I could go work with a US Reserve band, while being paid by the canadian gouverment. This procedure is usually pretty long admistratively as it has to go through HQ of both countries...
Also, If anyone knows anybody who has done this and has any stories to share, feel fre to message me.
Reserve Bands in USA
To my knowledge, the only reserve components with bands are the Army Reserve, the Army National Guard, and the Air National Guard.
The Air National Guard has 11 bands nationwide. For information on vacancies and audition materials, you can check out their website at http://www.bands.af.mil/bands/. I'm not very familiar with the Air Force music program, and as such I think it would be a disservice to say much more about what they do and how they operate.
The Army Reserve and National Guard Bands function more or less the same way. There are 18 Army Reserve Bands, and 53 National Guard Bands. The NG bands have a dual role within the federal and state governments. Mostly this deals with the sources of funding, which will affect enlistment bonuses, education benefits, etc.
In the reserve components of the Army, you drill two days a month, and two weeks a year (I can't speak for all the bands, but we usually do ours in the summer). Sometimes there are gigs that we do outside of drill weekends that take additional time, but those aren't terribly common, and you are paid for this extra duty.
The quality of the bands vary. The Army has recently raised the entrance audition standards for both the active and reserve components, and have increased the length of Advanced Individual Training for reserve musicians from 4 weeks to 10 weeks. I can only imagine this will eventually raise the quality of performance throughout the field. In my own NG band, we currently run the gambit from recent high school graduates with minimal advanced music instruction, to DMA students and former D.C. premier band players. Like any professional job, there are times when it is more intellectually satisfying than others.
In addition to your duties as a musician, you're still a soldier. You still have to complete Army Basic Training, maintain height and weight standards, pass physical training tests, shoot your rifle, and all of that stuff. If you join the National Guard, you also run the possibility of being activated by the Governor for emergency duties (flooding, ice storms, hurricanes, etc.), not to mention that the bands are considered deployable assets. It doesn't happen often, but several of the reserve and NG bands have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
All in all, it's a great playing gig as an opportunity to serve without the full time commitment of the active services.