The NATO Vanguard is the newest ensemble in the SHAPE International Band. Formed in 2018, NATO Vanguard was created to fill an ever-increasing niche at events throughout the BENELUX. Often, venues or requestors would request one of our pop/rock or jazz ensembles for an event, but did not have the space in the venue to accommodate a group the size of Task Force X, NATO Unplugged, or the NATO Jazz Combo. Instead of not supporting these requests, several members of the SHAPE International Band got together and devised an innovative way of providing music for these setting where both pop & jazz music were requested, but the size of the performance space prohibited use of a larger and louder group. Thus the NATO Vanguard was born.
Featuring the skills of mulit-instrumentalist Staff Sergeant Tim Stuart (USA), the group became centered around the use of live-recorded loops & pre-recorded samples in order to eliminate the need for a traditional rhythm section of drums, bass, & guitar. This use of technology allowed SSG Stuart and the rest of NATO Vanguard to fit into very small areas quite easily and still perform the same Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, George Benson, & Dave Koz tunes the audience wanted, but at a volume that perfectly matched the size venue and purpose of the event. Featuring a rotating group of instrumentalists from Task Force X, NATO Unplugged, & NATO Jazz Combo, the NATO Vanguard is truly the best of both worlds; the same great quality music from any of our larger ensembles in a package that fits in the space of a standard loveseat or couch.
Since it's inception, the NATO Vanguard has performed for military and civilian audiences all across the BENELUX. Examples of recent performances include:
- performance at the 244th United States Army Birthday Ball for the Soldiers & civilians stationed at JFC Brunssum in the Netherlands
- performance for the Danish National Military Representative to NATO & SHAPE at the Danish New Years Ball in Mons, Belgium
- outdoor performance for the United States of America's Ambassadors to NATO, Belgium, & the EU for a reception at Truman Hall, Tervuren, Belgium
- outdoor performance for a backyard bbq reception hosted by United States of America's National Military Representative to NATO at his residence in Brussels, Belgium