Just in: US Congress curbs military bands

Just in: US Congress curbs military bands


norman lebrecht

June 17, 2016

The House of Representatives has voted to reduce spending on military bands, presently costing half a billion bucks a year.

Specifically, it approved an amendment to the 2017 defense appropriations act by Rep. Martha McSally, a retired Air Force colonel, restricting the bands to funerals and military ceremonies and prohibiting their engagement at dinners and events for ‘entertaining generals, dignitaries and elected officials, all the different type of things that have nothing to do with appropriate military ceremonies.

This will inevitably leads to budget cuts and job losses.

Before long they will be reduced to the legendary status of the Egyptian army band (pictured).

egyptian army band


Read more here.


  • Chris Walsh says:

    This seems wrong-headed to me. The bill seeks to prevent military bands from playing at non-military events as a cost-saving measure. Surely they would be paid to play at such events, making them income-generating?

    • Emil Archambault says:

      Not if they play for military occasions that are not formal events – no one pays if they play at a dinner party for a general or a dignitary. It’s not a case of contracting them out to the general public.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      The band members are paid a salary, not “per service,” so I’m not sure how reducing their performances saves money except for the fuel to transport them places.

  • NYMike says:

    I’m assuming this includes events at the White House. This is patently ridiculous!

  • DanielWBoothe.com says:

    In this same bill, they voted “YES” for keeping the full $900 million in “aid” to Pakistan. While the U.S. can’t afford to have its military bands performing in civic celebrations, the Pakistan military band will have plenty of money for theirs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roevLbgVt60

  • Saxon Broken says:

    Er…137 bands and $500 million seems rather a lot of money of military bands.

  • Jeff Burke says:

    So if we cut spending on military bands, does that mean high school bands will be cut? Oh, and don’t forget band scholarships for state supported universities. And while we are at it, is the study of art necessary? If music and art are not necessary, why not eliminate government supported museums and parks? High school and college sports, are they necessary? It also seems like most professional stadiums are partially financed with government bonds, allowing their owners to profit. Why not stop that also? Let the owners put up all of the financing for new stadiums. Are you sure this is what you want? Where will it stop? Members of congress, think about it before you vote.

  • craig says:

    Seems like they could give up a few guns and still have a band.