The Veterans Band celebrates 35 years of honoring veterans
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – If you’ve ever been to an official Veterans Honoring Ceremony or even the Buc Days Parade, you’ve probably seen the Corpus Christi Veteran Group. From humble beginnings, this group of veterans persevered and celebrated their 35th anniversary on June 3.
Although they have entertained thousands of people over the years, don’t dare call them artists.
“We are not artists, we do not entertain,” said Ram Chavez. “We honor.”
For Chavez, founder and director of the group, every musician past and present has helped the group become what it is today.
“Everyone here has contributed, it doesn’t matter if they were here 35 years ago or five years ago,” Chavez said.
In 1984, Chavez began working on a plan to create the Veterans Band. He worked this plan for almost two years. The first challenges were to find instruments for those who didn’t have them and to find music that anyone could play at an average level.
24 showed up for the group’s first rehearsal on June 3, 1986, including Marine Corps veteran John Earhart, who plays for fallen friends.
“I lost several friends from high school, including my brother-in-law,” said Earhart, one of the original seven members still with the group. “To honor them, their memory and all those who sacrificed their lives for our country.”
The Veterans Band has represented the coastal curve from coast to coast; from Washington, DC to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The five services are represented. Some members have seen fighting, others have not. Even though there are differences, these musicians are all on the same page.
“We chat and laugh at each other, but at the end of the day we all come together, like in combat,” Earhart said. “In music, we get along the same way. “
“When you stand together, it doesn’t come apart,” Chavez added, clasping his hands. “It gives us strength and there you go, we wouldn’t have gone that far.”
So what does it take to be a part of this group?
“It takes respect, honor, commitment, dedication and all that with dignity,” said Chavez.
Chavez says he’s working on another trip for the group, this one would be the farthest they’ve ever traveled. We will let you know when these details are final.