Thursday, July 21, 2005

On Active Duty: Tiana Schneider

Published in the Current

CAPE ELIZABETH (July 21, 2005): Spc. Tiana Schneider of Cape Elizabeth is a saxophonist in the 1st Armored Division Army Band, based in Wiesbaden, Germany.

A 2003 graduate of Cape Elizabeth High School, she recently returned home on leave with her boyfriend, Cpl. Chris Nicholas of Wisconsin, a trumpet player with the band.

“The weather has been so nice here,” Schneider said, especially because of the ocean breezes, which she does not have in central Germany.

Her band, one of four Army bands in Europe, has been very busy this spring and early summer, playing as many as two change-of-command ceremonies a day, and traveling extensively around Germany and throughout Western Europe to perform.

“Four out of six days we’re on a bus,” she said. The band is also playing at German beer festivals, which often include parades, in which they perform German traditional folk songs and marches, as well as American marches and jazz.

Recently, Schneider, 20, was among those sent to a change-of-command ceremony in Baumholder, another American military installation in Germany. The ceremony was held despite bucketing rain.

“I guess the only good thing about that day was there was no breeze,” she said. “There was so much water in my sax” she was dumping it out of the bell between songs and some keys stuck.

Schneider is reenlisting on Aug. 1. Her father, retired Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charles Schneider, will give her her reenlistment oath, as he did when she enlisted.

She has volunteered to spend two years in Korea, starting in the middle of next year. Nicholas has also done so, and they hope to be stationed near Seoul with an Army band there.

“We definitely have the best job in the military,” Schneider said. Though some of her fellow soldiers think she has a 9-to-5 job, she tells them she has no weekends off, and an unpredictable schedule. But she does get to meet generals face-to-face after playing music for them, and has seen a lot of Europe while traveling to and from performances.

“I’m having a lot of fun with this,” she said.

“On Active Duty” is a continuing series profiling members of the community serving in the armed forces. If a member of your family is on active duty in any branch of the military, please contact Editor Jeff Inglis.