By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
99th Readiness Division
Two Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division are helping prove that Broadway’s award-winning “Hamilton,” a song-and-dance retelling of the nation’s founding, isn’t that name’s only tie to musical excellence.
Staff Sgt. Sheri Muneno of the 78th Army Band detachment stationed at Fort Totten, New York, and Staff Sgt. Timothy Stuart of the 380th Army Band stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia, are among the latest recipients of the Colonel Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award.
“Prior to joining the Army Reserve, I was the flute instructor at the Army School of Music,” Muneno said. “I try to bring my knowledge I have teaching flute and teaching music to the unit, and I try to contribute in any way musically that I can.”
“I just transferred off of active-duty; my prior experience is as the pianist for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe band that directly supports the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and NATO’s mission for all the allies overseas,” Stuart said.
The Hamilton Award acknowledges enlisted musicians from all military branches, and honors the memory of retired Colonel Finley R. Hamilton who served 35 years in the Army Bands Program and retired as the commander and conductor of the United States Army Field Band.
“The award honors musicians from all components of service who demonstrate excellence in leadership and music,” Muneno said.
“It kind of encompasses looking at the holistic Soldier, Airman, Marine, Sailor and Coast Guardsman across the musical components, and really seeing what their overarching contribution is – not just to their unit, but to their specific service,” Stuart said.
Army bands’ mission is to provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations to instill in Soldiers the will to fight and win, foster the support of American citizens, and promote national interests at home and abroad.
“Music is a very cost-effective tool for the Army to build bridges – not only between Soldiers and the communities that they serve, but also between our country and other countries,” Muneno said. “Music can do things words cannot, a lot of times.”
“That really is our core being as Army musicians – to give the face of the American Soldier to the world, so people can make that tangible connection with our Soldiers and our Army,” Stuart said.