SHAPE International Band   /  History

History

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The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) International Band is the official musical representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The band formed in the autumn of 1983 to support the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), performing for ceremonial occasions. It consisted of fifteen volunteers organised under the direction of Major Mike Sheehan (UKLF). Seeing the band's diplomatic value, several allied nations began donating instruments, sheet music, and funds for the band's initial needs. By the end of 1984, the SHAPE International Band had given over thirty performances. At that time, the band consisted of a full-time Bandmaster, 12 professional United States Army musicians, and 22 military and civilian volunteers. In 1985, SACEUR General Bernard Rodgers (USA) declared the SHAPE International Band the official musical representative of NATO and SHAPE.

Since its inception, the SHAPE International Band has performed in support of the Alliance and throughout Europe as distinguished guest artists. The band has been featured at esteemed events such as the Bansko International Jazz Festival, the Lier Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Wigan International Jazz Festival, the Brussels Jazz Marathon, the Big Band Festival ҆iauliai, the Luxembourg International Military Tattoo, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival, United States Oman Embassy National Day, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and countless others.

Today the SHAPE International Band is composed of 18 multinational professional military musicians under the direction of Bandmaster, Chief Warrant Officer Four James Bettencourt (USA).

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