11 MAY 2010
Headquarters, Maryland Defense Force
“I have two bands.” declared Brigadier General (BG) James Adkins, Adjutant General of Maryland. BG Adkins arrived at the Pikesville Military reservation to honor the first anniversary of the formation and activation of the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) Band, Maryland’s Musical Ambassadors. Since their activation just over one year ago, the band, to date has performed at over fifteen events, each time representing the State of Maryland and her finest traditions with musical excellence and martial flair.
The evening rehearsal was kicked off with awards and promotions being bestowed upon seven band members by BG Adkins and Major Jari Villanueva, Commanding Officer of the MDDF Band. In addition to commendations and promotions, BG Adkins presented each band member with the official challenge coin of the Adjutant General. BG Adkins coin is emblazoned with a tribute to the “Maryland 400”, the Maryland soldiers that with repeated bayonet charges, held back the advancing British at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights.
Of the bandsmen present to receive this honor was band First Sergeant (1SG) Arnold Bundy. 1SG Bundy, a retired US Army musician, joined the band last April shortly after its formation and activation. “Serving in the MDDF is part of our patriotic duty to our state and our fellow citizens.“, declared 1SG Bundy, coin in hand. He went on to say about the MDDF and its band that “The sense of duty and volunteerism is truly inspiring as is the camaraderie.”. BG Adkins was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the band for his support of the MDDF Band and the MDDF mission. Included with the certificate were musician insignias and the MDDF Band tab.
Not content with simply pinning ranks and awards, BG Adkins volunteered to conduct the band in a rousing rendition of “Queen City March”, a favorite of the MDDF Band. Armed with a conductor’s baton, BG Adkins kept perfect tempo and received a hearty round of applause from the band for his enthusiasm and his conducting abilities. “I like your version better than our usual one.”, said First Lieutenant Jessica Bykowski with a smile to BG Adkins as he enjoyed a slice of official MDDF Band birthday cake.
What had been a gray, rainy Spring evening was brightly lit with the spirit of patriotism and service by the MDDF Band and a beaming BG Adkins. With one year of service to the People of Maryland and more praise than can be counted, the MDDF Band looks forward to marching proudly into the future and continuing the tradition of patriotism and service that has been the hallmark of Marylanders since 1634.