Sun Tzu, woodwind quintets and a Texas high school band

By Jeff Landenberger DLA Disposition Services

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The Texas State Agency for Surplus Property acquires a variety of property from DLA Disposition Services and recently passed the 1,000 item mark - for items not often associated with the military.

They were musical instruments, high quality instruments that are used by all the military service bands that are turned into DLA Disposition Services when time and wear dictates their replacement.   DLA of course looks for new eligible owners.

While most people think about military equipment, musical instruments may not be on the top of the list.

But they are not new to military units.

In his book “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu wrote of the importance of drums and gongs to relay orders on the battle field. “The Art of War” is still on reading list for members of the military. Sun Tzu wrote his thoughts down in the 5th century BC.

High tech has replaced drums and gongs as a means of communication on the battle field, but the role of the musical instrument and the military musician has evolved.

The U.S. Army Band Woodwind Quintet is one of the Army’s premiere chamber ensembles. The quintet is frequently called upon in support of high-level military and civilian events at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, and other locations around Washington, DC.

Along with other military bands they also perform at colleges and universities, as well as elementary and secondary schools.  The bands are said to have established themselves as a strong proponents of educational outreach.

But educational outreach does not end with performances or band members serving as guest teachers for young musicians.

Some of the instruments they once used are returning to class rooms thanks to DLA Disposition Services.

Patrick Dietz is the band director at the high school in Alvarado, Texas. His music program recently acquired 31 instruments through the program.

“We have a lot of smart kids and these horns have really allowed them to experience success that an entry level instrument would not allow for them to have,” Dietz said.  He says he has seen them grow as student musicians.