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BY FRANK RICHARDSON
SUNSET BEACH—They say every setback makes you stronger, right?
Those are words from Sigmund Johnson, a musician with the 82nd Airborne Division Band before its performance at the Sunset at Sunset festival Oct. 2.
He and the other band members have surely had their share of setbacks lately, beginning three months ago with a warehouse fire at Fort Bragg that wiped out their uniforms, instruments and sheet music.
To continue their mission, the band borrowed instruments from Fayetteville area schools and churches and got back to work making music.
Then came the invitation to play at the Sunset at Sunset Festival in Sunset Beach, just a week before the community block party. After the Marine Band cancelled two weeks before the event, party organizers enlisted the help of U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, who pulled some strings to get the 82nd Airborne Band here just days before the event.
A chartered bus picked the band up and headed to Sunset Beach. Then the bus broke down, and at one point the musicians had to get out and push it.
The ailing bus finally limped into Sandpiper Bay residential community clubhouse where a lunch prepared by Calabash VFW Post 7288 awaited.
While the musicians enjoyed the food and surroundings, others were busy trying to figure out how to get them and their instruments to the Sunset at Sunset stage, because their bus would make it no further.
The residents of Sandpiper came to the rescue. They spread the word of the need for vehicles, and many neighbors with vans or pickup trucks formed a motorcade loaded with music-making troops and their instruments and headed out.
By the time of their performance, band members were all in their places, poised and professional. Their music was well received, and many hope to have them back again, minus the problems of the past.
By the time the band finished, a backup bus was waiting to take members home to Fort Bragg—another mission accomplished.