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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find a general list of frequently asked questions regarding our mission, booking process, ensembles, and other relevant topics. Don't see an answer to your question below? Please contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.

What is the mission of the SHAPE International Band?

~ The SHAPE International Band, based in Casteau, Belgium, has been the official musical representation of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) since 1983. Our mission is to embody the NATO values of partnership, teamwork, and technical excellence through musical performances for military and civilian audiences throughout Europe and the world.

As the official musical ambassadors of SHAPE/NATO, we promote and maintain the esprit de corps of the SHAPE/NATO military and civilian personnel by providing music for official functions. Furthermore, the SHAPE International Band and it's various ensembles function as a public relations tool; representing SHAPE/NATO by promoting its message of #WeAreNATO through performances at civilian concerts, presentations, national celebrations, community festivals, and various other performances.

Are members of the SHAPE International Band military service members or civilians who work for NATO?

~ All members of the SHAPE International Band are professional active duty military musicians from the finest military music programs across the 30 nations that make up the NATO Alliance. Currently, the band is composed of musicians from the United States Army, United States Air Force, Army Music Service of the Czech Armed Forces, and frequently features guest military musicians from the Armed Forces of France, Germany, Latvia, and Montenegro.

What different ensembles make up the SHAPE International Band?

~The SHAPE International Band is composed of nine different smaller ensembles that specialise in different facets of musical performance. They include the following groups:

  • 16-20 member ceremonial ensemble: SHAPE International Ceremonial Band
  • 15-18 member big band: NATO Jazz Orchestra
  • 10 member dance band: Task Force X
  • 4-7 member jazz small ensemble: NATO Jazz Combo
  • 5 member small ceremonial band: NATO Brass Ambassadors
  • 4-5 member member acoustic pop group: NATO Unplugged
  • 2-3 member pop, R&B, & jazz group: NATO Vanguard
  • Solo musicians (vocalist, piano, or guitar)
  • Ceremonial buglers

At what type of events does the SHAPE International Band's ensembles typically perform?

~The ensembles of the SHAPE International Band perform at a wide variety of officially sanctioned events. Examples of these include but are not limited to:

  • Cultural exchange and representation at major music festivals such as the Cork, Wigan, and Bansko International Jazz Festivals
  • Memorial performances such as the Mons Friendship Concert, performances at Menin Gate and the American Cemetery at Flanders Field.
  • Embassy & National Military Representative support such as performances for galas at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels & Paris or receptions for the various NMR's throughout the BENELUX and EU.
  • Community outreach performances like SHAPE 24 hr Make-a-Wish Fun Run, Mons Relay for Life, NASCAR in Belgium, SHAPEFEST, Holiday Concert Charleroi
  • Direct military support for retirements, changes of command, unit activations, distinguished visitor arrivals, and other military ceremonies
  • Educational outreach including masterclasses with the Latvian Armed Forces Big Band, SHAPE American School, and Oman Scouts & Guides

How much does it cost to have an ensemble perform at an event?

~ There is no charge to have an ensemble from the SHAPE International Band perform at your event. Performances by ensembles from the SHAPE International Band are considered a public service on behalf of NATO.

However, depending on a variety of logistical factors and fiscal constraints, we sometimes ask that Points of Contact or Venues cover food, transportation, and/or lodging costs for an ensemble. These are determined on a case by case basis and only incurred when performance requests fall outside of the BENELUX (Belgium, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany) area of responsibility. For more specific questions, please contact our Director of Operations.

How do I request an ensemble from the SHAPE International Band to perform at an event?

~ To request an ensemble to perform at your event, please follow the following steps:

  1. Click here to visit our Contact Us page to find the SHAPE Band Request Form.
  2. Download the SHAPE Band Request Form to your device and enter your event specifics in as much detail as possible.
  3. Once your information is entered and saved on the Request Form, please email it to our Director of Operations, Sergeant First Class Tony Williams, at
  4. Once received, you will a confirmation email and/or phone call to work out the specifics of your request within 3-5 business days.

Please note that due to the high volume of request we receive from each of the 30 member nations of the NATO Alliance, we can not feasibly support every request that is submitted. To ensure the best chance at securing an ensemble for your event, please send in your request as soon as you have a definitive date & venue location as well as a tentative event duration, performance length, and an idea of what type of music you are looking for.

Our Operations staff are well versed in helping with a wide variety of requests. From first time event planners looking for a jazz combo at a military ball, to military protocol staff needing one-off music for a meet and greet with world leaders, to festival coordinators looking to book the NATO Jazz Orchestra the Wigan International Jazz Festival, our Operators can easily help you through the process once a request is submitted. However, we can not help until a request is submitted. We often receive requests 6-8 months in advance so the earlier you contact us, the better the chance we will have availability on our schedule.

What is the criteria for joining the SHAPE International Band?

~ Musicians recruited for the SHAPE International Band are some of the finest professional musicians from their respective country's military music programs. Many members have years of collegiate, conservatory, and/or professional touring & recording experience prior to joining their respective armed services as musicians. All members of the band are full time active duty military musicians assigned to SHAPE by their respective National Military Representatives (NMR). Those seeking to audition for the SHAPE International Band should contact our Deputy Bandmaster, Master Sergeant Stephanie Doehr via email at or by phone at 0032 65 44 8328.

Where is the SHAPE International Band located?

~ Our rehearsal facility is located in Bldg. 202 at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe just outside of Casteau, Belgium.

How do I get high quality photos & video of the SHAPE International Band for advertising usage?

~ To receive official ensemble or SHAPE International Band photos & video for advertising, please contact our Director of Marketing, Sergeant McKay Heaton, via phone at 0032 65 44 3322 or via email at

Are you on Social Media like Facebook or Instagram?

~ You can follow or subscribe to any of our social media by clicking the following links: Facebook, Instagram, & YouTube

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7010 Mons

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Attn: Media Section
7010 Mons