Laura Lineberger is a Sergeant Major in the United States Army. She serves as chief librarian of the U.S Army Band "Pershing's Own" and is also the first female euphonium player in the Army band.
The euphonium is a brass instrument shaped like a small tuba. Lineberger has played the euphonium in the Army band for almost 30 years, and it is similar to the instrument that she first played when she was young.
“I started playing the baritone horn which is the less professional model of what I currently play. At age 15, I started taking lessons with Dr. Paul Droste, who was Ohio State University band director and the euphonium instructor and I would always do very well with my juries and music recitals.”
Lineberger was pondering her career path in music when she tried out for several service bands.
“I first auditioned for the Marine Band and I was one of eight finalists for that position. Then, while going to graduate school at the University of Maryland and practicing getting good at my craft, I auditioned for the other branches of the United States services. I made the finals every single time,” Lineberger says.
Lineberger won the position to join the United States Army brass band. The brass band no longer exists, but Lineberger says the group was within the Army band "Pershing's Own" and she enjoyed playing for the band.
Lineberger says she likes that the word “euphonium” means “beautiful sound.”
“I think that it really is a beautiful sounding instrument. And aside from all the technique that you can learn how to play, the true core of a euphonium player is their sound. Do you get that big deep robust juicy wonderful sound? If you got that, you're well on your way. That sound for the euphonium is really key.”
Lineberger says over the years she has come to understand the gravity of being a member of the military.
“It's initially I think as a young musician in the military it was I'm here to play my horn for a living. I get to do that. But then it changed into i get to serve my country,” Lineberger says.
She has played for the Desert Storm parade in New York City in 1992. Lineberger also served with the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, helping to plan inaugural festivities Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“I realized that being part of both of those experiences was just magnificent and while that's part of being in the Army band, if I hadn't served in the Army band I would never have been selected for that extra duty because they needed to have somebody on their staff that knew about bands and knew about how to select bands to march in those parades. And I was lucky enough to be the one selected from our organization to serve in that capacity.”
Lineberg has also played with a number of female brass bands. In 2003 she put together the Athena Brass Band, made up of all women. They come together each year to perform at the International Women’s Brass Conference.
Laura Lineberger says that playing in a brass band is one of her biggest joys in life.
“If music isn’t fun, then you’re missing out on what its really about. Music needs to be fun.”