The CGSC Foundation hosted the fourth annual “Celebration of International Friendship” Sept. 29 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City. The event was conducted to welcome and honor the 2017-2018 class of international military officers studying at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. 119 officers from 91 countries are in the Class of 2018.
Speakers during the evening included the master of ceremonies, KMBC-TV’s Rob Hughes (Kansas City/ABC) who is also an infantry officer in the Army National Guard; Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner; and Brig. Gen. Scott L. Efflandt, Deputy Commandant, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Jim Fain, director of the International Military Student Division of CGSC, introduced the international officers by country as part of the program.
The U.S. Army Chorus from Washington, D.C., conducted by Maj. Leo Peña, provided the musical performance for the evening. The Chorus was formed in 1956 as the vocal counterpart of the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own.” Along with performances for presidents, visiting dignitaries and heads of state, the Chorus has appeared in the nations most prominent concert halls. They sang a selection of music featuring some of their solo artists and a rousing rendition of the “Armed Forces Medley” during which veterans and active duty members of the various armed services in the audience stood and were recognized during their service song.
Prior to the evening event at the Kauffman Center, Col. (Ret.) Bob Dudley, a friend of the CGSC Foundation, led the Chorus on a tour of the National World War I Museum and Memorial earlier in the day. After their tour, the Chorus conducted a short performance for an audience of nearly 200 museum visitors on the poppy bridge entrance to the exhibits.
Immediately after their performance in the museum, the Chorus moved next door to Kansas City’s Union station where they performed for 30 minutes for more than 400 attendees in the grand hall of the station, receiving an enthusiastic standing ovation at its conclusion. After the performance the Foundation and Union Station hosted the Chorus at a luncheon during which the Union Station Chief Marketing Officer Michael Tritt spoke to the group about the station’s history in Kansas City. Foundation CEO Doug Tystad concluded the lunch by presenting Chorus members with commemorative CGSC coins.
“During their time in Kansas City the Army Chorus was exceptionally effective as U.S. Army ambassadors and by association for the Foundation,” said Tystad. “And, I might add that Ann [Ann Soby the Foundation’s Director of Operations] did a magnificent job of taking care of the Chorus and putting them in situations that touched a large number of people in the KC area. The Chorus told us that they have never been treated so well! – Well done Ann!”
The Foundation would like to extend another special thanks to all the sponsors for their support in making this event happen. – See the complete list of sponsors here. The Foundation also thanks its long-standing planning partners for the event, the Greater Kansas City chapter of People to People and Operation International from the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce.
View the program for details about the event: program, sponsors, chorus information/members, and the hosts.
For a full set of photos from the event and activities during the day, visit the CGSC Foundation Facebook page.
All photos are also in albums on the CGSC Foundation Flickr site: