By Joy Grover
On May 3rd this year, Licking High School hosted an Army Band group in the high school gym, called Fire For Effect. This group is under the Command of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert Springer, as the 135th Army Band. There are six members of this group, including SFC Roger Kirchner (on guitar), SSG Erick Whiting (on bass), SGT Christina Ball (on vocals), SGT Becky Cox (on keys), SGT Dakota Fletcher (on Drums), and SGT Dusty O’Neal (as sound technician). As well, from the 70th Mobile Public Affairs Det., was CPL Samantha Whitehead, covering the event.
This group is one of multiple music ensemble groups from the unit. Others, besides the rock band Fire For Effect, include The Combo, a jazz band, and Aftershock, a dance band. However, Licking High School only hosted Fire For Effect.
The entirety of the junior high and high school population from Licking High School was called by intercom to come into the high school gym, where the band was tuning up, and also passing out some colorful and eye-catching flyers, which tell about the 135th Army Band and The Missouri Army National Guard, as well as featuring some of the benefits of being a part of the Missouri Army National Guard.
Fire For Effect isn’t like most bands or groups that visit Licking High School, or a typical band, for that matter. This group encouraged students to come down and join them in song, which, after a couple of songs, became a more and more popular action for some of the students. The band featured a variety of songs from Lady Gaga, to Lorde, and many others, even reaching back to some older classics. As well, the lead singer actually went into the seating area, and sang along with some of the students.
Licking was actually the third stop for this band on a tour around Missouri. The tour started on May 1st, in Alton, Missouri, and continued to May 5th, with Mexico, Missouri and the MMA. Each member in the group reflected well, and performed wondrously. They received excellent feedback from the students, and at the end, received a standing ovation from the entirety of the audience. In the end, I believe that Licking High School would gladly welcome this group back again in the future.