RICHMOND, Va. –
The crowd is jamming to "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer" as the 380th Army Reserve Band plays the tune and then you hear a shout from the crowd: “Are those two twins?” However, the band keeps playing.
It’s enough though to make everyone stop and stare at the band as they continue their number. At first glance, you don’t suspect anything. But then both guitarists, one with an all-white guitar and the other with a black and white one, turn facing the crowd and you see it; identical twins. That’s right. Sgts. Courtney (electric guitarist) and Rhea (bass guitarist) Tucker are identical twins in the U.S. Army Reserve. Not only are these two Soldiers identical twins, but they are also in the same unit, play the same instrument, and both went to basic military training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) together.
“We got into a lot of trouble because of me in basic and AIT. I mean a lot of push-ups,” said Rhea looking at her sister laughing.
The 380th Army Reserve band is spreading a little holiday cheer for the staff and patients at the Richmond Veterans Hospital. The unit is based right in Richmond, but play wherever a little music for the soul is needed however, for this four piece rock group it is the first time they have performed together here.
“We’re really excited and very humbled to be able to play for people who have been in the same shoes we have or sometimes even worse,” said Courtney.
The twins enjoyed playing for the veterans hospital because they have ties with the military. They’re father did more than 20 years in the Navy before retiring and their mom did four. They have several family members on their father side who have also served at some point. With all of this military blood, you wonder where the musical talent comes from.
“We don’t know where this musical gift comes from. Our dad says he played the sandblocks, but that doesn’t count,” Courtney states as she laughs and rolls her eyes.
“Our mom used to sing in the choir in church and our grandmother played the piano, but as far as we know, no one has played any musical instrument and taught us,” Rhea chimes in with her sister.
Wherever it comes from, the two musical Soldiers make the most of it. The two sergeants have been playing since they were 10 and play more than just guitar. They also play the drums, the clarinet and the saxophone. They both studied music in college, they’re both music teachers in their civilian careers and they both play in a civilian band they started.
“I actually play the drums in our band because our original drummer was unable to make some of the gigs,” Rhea said.
“So I picked up on the drums and self- taught myself by watching YouTube videos and it kind of went on from there,” she said.
The twins have been in the same unit since joining the Army nine years ago. Even after all that time they still get the same reaction from people when they realize they’re twins. Whether it is a new Soldier in the unit or civilians they are playing for seeing identical twin Soldiers in the same unit is rare. Sgt. 1st Class Nesstor Delica, vocalist and trumpet player with the 380th Army Reserve Band has been in the unit for three years but was shocked when he finally realized there were twins in the unit.
“After a couple of battle assemblies, I would be like, 'Wait, there’s two of them,' ” he said.
“This group is a new and budding group, so we haven’t had many exposures too many times, but when we do we always get some sort of response from the crowd, they’re surprised to see the twins,” said “It’s generally positive because people enjoy seeing something different, and to be able to see the talent that they have and provide to the unit has been fantastic,” Delica said.
The twins bring a talent that is unique to most band units. They have become a crucial part of the unit because of their ability to play a secondary instrument and perform at a professional level, which is something that is not found very often in people.
With all this talent, the twins want to make sure they can bring the staff and patients at the Richmond Veterans Hospital a little holiday cheer through their music.
“Happy holidays to everyone here, especially to the people who may not have family to come visit. We really enjoyed playing for everyone and we thank them so much,” said Courtney Tucker.
“Happy holidays, and we hope they have us back next year,” stated Rhea Tucker.