Father, Son Achieve US Army Band Rarity


JOINT BASE MEYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. -- On separate occasions in the arts and entertainment world, a father's career overlaps with his son's work. Martin Sheen has acted with Charlie Sheen. Professional baseball's Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. became Seattle Mariner teammates and hit back-to-back home runs in 1990.

Now on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, a father-son duo with The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own," or TUSAB, will be making modern-day history.

During TUSAB's Tuba-Euphonium Workshop, Sgt. Maj. Donald "Don" J. Palmire Jr. and Staff Sgt. Donald J. "DJ" Palmire III will become the first father and son team to perform together with the band since the 1940s, according to The U.S. Army Band.

Don's instrument of choice is the euphonium, while DJ is a Pershing's Own percussionist. Both are Marine veterans and alumni of the Armed Forces School of Music. When DJ joined Pershing's Own in December, it was just a matter of time before their musical talents meshed.

"We're kind of the first playing duo since World War II," Don said. "This is really cool since I'm the chairman of the workshop, and [it is cool] to have my son playing [Jan. 30] when I'm playing a piece, which was written for me as a solo. We both thought that his first job would be a funeral out in [Arlington National] Cemetery, but his first performances with the band are going to be with us."

The Palmire combination will again team together Feb. 1, during the grand tuba-euphonium concert, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Brucker Hall.

Don has been a member of The U.S. Army Band since 1994, and DJ has also been a part of the band in a supporting role. He's been a fan and frequent spectator as a child and teenager.

"The entire time through elementary school, I was coming to concerts and seeing events on the [National] Mall in the summer, and coming to Twilight Tattoos," DJ said. 

The younger Palmire explained that his love of music grew while in high school into his college years, as he studied for an education degree. DJ then chose a career path that eventually led him to Pershing's Own.

"I moved from wanting to be an educator to wanting to be a performer, and my dad was very instrumental in me being here," DJ said.

Though they share the same name right "down to the suffix," as DJ pointed out, the newest Palmire to TUSAB is determined to make his own name around Brucker Hall.

"Having a Marine music background of playing marches everyday and marching in the cold was expected," said DJ. "Something I am trying to overcome is that there are so many people here who have known me growing up as a little kid. I'm trying to create my own name. I have to also find a way to be apart from dad and create my own image."

The Palmire musical union is not the only story taking shape during the annual tuba-euphonium workshop. The three-day event will be highlighted by evening concerts, recitals, picture exhibits, classes and lectures by brass impresarios from around the globe. The workshop began Jan. 30, and concludes Feb. 1.

The eldest Palmire noted that the workshop lineup is quite varied this year, and is packed with home-grown joint base talent, plus visiting ensembles and a musical tribute to a late commander.

"A big centerpiece to our workshop is going to be our Command Sergeant Major Ross Morgan tribute recital because he was our first command sergeant major, and he just passed away this past September," Don said. "Not only was he our first command sergeant major, but he was one of the founders of the tuba-euphonium workshop." 

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