this September in three northeastern United States cities.
Heading into the six-show, two-week tour, the team is currently sequestered in Fort McNair’s old gymnasium for training. The 6,000 square foot space is blanketed in heat and humidity, but the dimensions are perfect for drilling.
“We’ll spend every day here from about zero six [6 a.m.] until about 1700 [5 p.m.],” Drill Team member Sgt. Jeff Brice explained about the team’s pre-SOA itinerary. “Our entire lives now are here training until Spirit of America. [The building’s] perfect because 95 percent of our performances are in a basketball court-sized areas.”
When the drill team debuts at Boston’s TD Garden Sept. 12, 20 of the 29-member entourage will be performing in their first-ever Spirit of America show. According to Brice, there is more excitement than nervousness.
“Spirit of America is really fun. The majority of the team now are all brand-new guys, so this is the first time they get to experience it,” he said. “Usually we perform for crowds of a couple hundred people like at [Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s] Twilight Tattoos. The bigger crowds make it really awesome.”
Seating capacity at TD Garden is 17,565, and Albany’s Times Union Center and Hershey’s Giant Center are the other show stops. The Albany arena holds 15,500 seats, while a sold-out crowd at the Hershey venue will number close to 10,500 spectators.
All three arenas will witness a revamped precision rifle drill. Brice said the drill team likes to “jazz it up a little bit” for Spirit of America.
“We want to make it a little bit more exciting and more technically difficult than the regular season drill,” he said during a practice break.
Spirit of America is a living history show of the Army’s heritage and combines music, precision drills and historical reenactments. The show’s talent resides inside the Military District of Washington – specifically Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and includes the Continental Color Guard, Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, Caisson Platoon, The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and The U.S. Army Drill Team.
Tickets are free and available to the general public. To check for ticket availability, go to