Army band to perform Feb. 2-3 at Saenger

The Army Ground Forces Band, a group that traces its history back to 1845 and the Mexican War, will perform free concerts Feb. 2 and 3 at the Saenger Theater in Biloxi.

The group’s Biloxi shows are the only Mississippi appearances in a 23-concert tour of the Southeast. The concert band will entertain at the Saenger on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m., and the Jazz Guardians will perform on Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.

The shows are sponsored by The Sun Herald and the City of Biloxi. Free tickets, which are not required, are available at the Visitors Center on the Town Green, The Sun Herald on Debuys Road, and Biloxi’s two chambers of commerce.

The Army Ground Forces Band was organized as the Fourth Infantry Regiment Band on July 21, 1845 in New Orleans. Its heritage includes 26 campaign streamers and the French Croix de Guerre with Guilt Star.

The history of this band began with the Mexican War where its members fought heroically, becoming the only Army Band to receive a combat distinction from a President of the United States. President Zachary Taylor, who commanded the Fourth Infantry regiment during this war, authorized the band to wear red piping on the uniform in commemoration of its distinguished service in the battle of Monterey, Mexico. There on Sept. 21, 1846, the band captured and turned an artillery battery against the enemy.

The Army Ground Forces Band’s history includes service in the Civil War, The War with Spain, The Philippine Insurrection and both world wars. The band fought with the victorious Third Division, which spearheaded the Battle of the Marne in July 1918.

During World War II, the band participated in the Aleutian Islands operation in May 1943. After World War II, the name of the band was changed to the 214th Army Band and in 1985, the Secretary of the Army designated it the Army Ground Forces Band.