From the Beginning...
The band began in 1984 when a small group of proud veterans assembled at American Legion Federal Post 509 in Fresno, California, to present a concert commemorating the end of World War II. Most of the veterans who formed the small group had previous experience playing in the military bands and orchestras of the respective branches of the military in which they served.
The “509 Band”, as it was called, was an immediate success, and demand grew for additional concerts. As the popularity of the group grew and the number of musicians increased, the confines of the 509 Band started to feel cramped so the band relocated to the Legion of Valor Museum in downtown Fresno. At that time, the band became affiliated with the Association of the United States Army and changed the name to the "Sounds of Freedom" Military Concert Band. After another growth spurt, a final move was made to the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, which the band now calls home. The band answered the demand and immediately became a favorite of the community, giving concerts at the Veterans Administration Hospital Facility and appearing at many civic functions throughout the city, including the annual 4th of July Fireworks Show at Caruthers High School; area rest homes; and quarterly concerts at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
With the onset of base realignment and closure (BRAC), a shortage of military bands occurred but the need for military bands persisted. To meet this demand, the band stepped up to the plate and has since been available for military ceremonies throughout the state. Members memorized bugle calls and the specific protocols of each branch of the military and worked to procure the music necessary to support the various military events. This all-volunteer civilian band, many of whom are Veterans, soon found itself deployed to military bases throughout the state of California, playing for dignitaries, Ambassadors, Generals, Admirals, Heads of State, and the active rank-and-file members of all branches of our country’s military.
Hollon Kinney was the founder member of the Sounds of Freedom Band, and the band’s first director. “There were about a dozen members then”, said Mr. Kinney. “But we were like a family, and we still are”, he added. Soon after graduating from Dos Palos Joint Union High School, Mr. Kinney found himself in the U.S. Army Air Corps serving our country in the European theater. He used to joke at how his skill as a musician kept him out of the line of fire during the war, but if you were to press him to tell you more, he would have admitted to some pretty close calls. A proud World War II veteran, Mr. Kinney played trumpet. One of his greatest joys was to play taps in memory of our fallen heroes.