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Commanders' new marching band to look, operate differently

The Commanders' new marching band will "look, sound and operate a bit differently than the previous version," according to Scott Allen of the WASHINGTON POST. It will be a "60-person ensemble," and the musicians will be "paid, part-time employees of the team." That is "roughly half the size of the all-volunteer band" that played at home games through the '19 season. Members of the former band, some of whom "volunteered for decades," must "reapply to be considered for the new ensemble." As the maestro and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia since '11, Jeffrey Sean Dokken is being named the "first music director" for the revived band. The team "consulted with military and college bands" over the past year about how it could "create a robust sound with half the personnel of the former band." At home games, the new ensemble -- composed of brass, percussion and woodwind instruments -- will "perform at tailgate events, in the plaza on the main concourse and on the field before player introductions." During games, band members will "occupy a dedicated section above the west end zone video board." They will "play select halftime shows." A "revamped arrangement" of the team’s original fight song, "Hail to the Redskins," which has not been played at the stadium since the team retired its former name in '20, also is "in the works." Commanders VP/Guest Experience Joey Colby-Begovich was "coy when asked just how revamped the song will be," but he did note the process will involve a "fan engagement initiative" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/11).

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