Va. Guard’s 29th Division Band to play for Capitol Tree Lighting

Soldiers from the Clifton Forge-based 29th Division Band pose in front of the Virginia Capitol. (Contributed photo)

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia National Guard’s Clifton Forge-based 29th Division Band will provide holiday music for the 2012 Capitol Tree Lighting and Tribute to Our Military scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at 5 p.m. at the South Portico of the Virginia State Capitol. Governor Bob McDonnell and Mrs. McDonnell will host the event, and the public is invited to attend.

The entire band will play for the tree lighting, then divide up into small groups to play inside the Executive Mansion and showcase the talent in the band during an Open House, explained Sgt. First Class Richard A. Carr Jr., readiness noncommissioned officer for the 29th Division Band.

“This is the first time the band has performed at the Capitol outside of the Inauguration, and the Soldiers are excited about the opportunity to take part in event,” Carr said.

Governor Bob McDonnell sent the following invitation out to all state employees Dec. 3:

“The First Lady and I would like to invite you to the annual Capitol Tree Lighting this Friday, December 7, 2012 at 5 p.m. on the South Portico of the Capitol in Richmond. This year, in addition to the tree lighting, we will recognize and pay tribute to the U.S. military by featuring music by the National Guard’s 29th Division band, hosting veterans from each war, and presenting guest speaker CPT Bill Haneke, US Army (Ret). Cpt. Haneke is a very severely wounded Vietnam veteran, reputed to be the most severely wounded warrior ever to have survived.

We will also have another very special guest that evening, 6-year-old Nathan Norman and his family. Nathan is a brave warrior who has battled numerous serious health challenges and taught his family and friends so much through his love, strength, and faith. Nathan displays the same qualities as the soldiers who will also be recognized this evening: bravery and selflessness. To salute Nathan and his passion for those in uniform, emergency response vehicles will line North Drive leading up to the Mansion for the tree lighting and open house.

We will be hosting an open house immediately following the tree lighting where you will have an opportunity to walk through the Mansion and view the holiday décor. As we sit on the eve of the bicentennial, this year’s theme is First House: Two Centuries of Holiday Cheer.

Both events are free and open to the public, and we hope you will help to spread the word about this wonderful holiday tradition. We will be collecting donations at the open house to benefit the Virginia War Memorial. We encourage everyone to bring $1.00 to donate to the War Memorial.”

In addition to providing ceremonial music for Virginia National Guard event, the 29th Division Band plays concerts throughout at the year at different locations throughout Virginia, and also travels to military installations outside the state.

For more information, visit the band’s Facebook page at

For more information about the Executive Mansion, visit or