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The Washington Tattoo's Inaugural Event by Lauren Vogel Weiss

Feb 24, 2021, 07:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Mark Reilly WT

Mark Reilly, President of The Washington Tattoo

The Washington Tattoo, a new arts organization in our nation’s capital, presented its first concert, “A Call to Arms and Arts,” on January 3, 2021 via a 45-minute online broadcast. (Due to the pandemic, performers could not appear in person.)

For those not familiar with the term, a “tattoo” is a performing-arts event consisting of music, marching, dance, and various other displays performed by military and civilian personnel. Other well-known international tattoos are held in Edinburgh, Scotland and Basel, Switzerland.

Founded in 2019, The Washington Tattoo’s goal is to offer diverse, exceptional musical events, education, and professional networking opportunities to a variety of audiences in the Washington, D.C. area, while creating awareness of and providing support for the needs of veterans and first responders. Mark Reilly, Corps Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army “Old Guard” Fife and Drum Corps and a former chair of the PAS Marching Percussion Committee, serves as President of The Washington Tattoo. As he said during the concert, “We believe the arts have the power to inspire pride and excellence, to ignite a passion of service, and to honor those who have and who still serve.”

The program opened with a 2019 performance by a Celtic trio including Seán Heely on fiddle, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Elam, and Scottish Border piper Tracy Jenkins. Former Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo producer Brigadier Sir Melville Jameson (Perth, Australia) then spoke about tattoos. The next performing group was a steel band from the Dutch Marine Corps, recorded in concert in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

One of the highlights of the concert was a special performance by “Grooves of Service,” playing a piece composed and arranged by Kit Chatham, which included excerpts from “Crazy Army” and “Downfall of Paris.” The ensemble featured Bill Bachman (USA) on drum set, Matthew Bell (USA) on snare drum and bodhrán, Chatham (USA) on repinique, tambourim, and surdo, Dave Goodman (Australia) on drum set, Claus Hessler (Germany) on drum set, David Loyal (USA) on bass drum, and Brendan Mason (USA), Mark Reilly (USA), and Josh Salazar (USA) on snare drum.

Grooves of Service WT

Grooves of Service performers (top row, L–R) Matthew Bell, Bill Bachman, Kit Chatham, Mark Reilly; (bottom row, L–R) Dave Goodman, Claus Hessler, Brendan Mason

Grooves of Service 2 WT

Grooves of Service performers (top row, L–R) Mark Reilly, David Loyal (bass drum), Matthew Bell; (bottom row, L–R) Josh Salazar, Brendan Mason

Other performers in the concert included the OzScot Highland Dancers from Australia and the King’s Cadence vocal quartet, comprised of SFC(R) KC Armstrong (US Army Band), Jay Craig, Todd Gaither, and Daniel Varnell. The event was sponsored by the Basel Tattoo, Avenches Tattoo, West Virginia University, Tapspace, Ion International Training Center, Prologix, Mapex and Majestic, Sieff Studios, and PAS.

For information on future events, visit

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