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State’s pie drew one member back

U.S. Army Sgt. Major Bram Smith, a member of the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, looks at the cannons of the USS Cairo Exhibit at the Vicksburg National Military Park Saturday.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[2/29/04]U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Krista Smith is eight months pregnant with her second child, and her doctor didn’t think she should make the flight from Fort Myer, Va., to Jackson. But she remembered the lemon icebox pie she tasted on her last trip to the state.

Smith is a violinist with the U.S. Army Strolling Strings Band. The Strolling Strings and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets traveled to the state Thursday to take part in ceremonies surrounding the opening of “The Glory of Baroque Dresden,” which included a visit Friday by Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The musical group spent several hours in Vicksburg Saturday touring the Military Park and the Old Court House Museum. They also had lunch at Duff Green Mansion.

Smith, an Indiana native, said she had never tasted lemon ice box pie before her first trip to Mississippi two years ago for “The Majesty of Spain” exhibition.

“I told my doctor that I really wanted to go to Jackson. The people are so kind and the hospitality is amazing,” she said Saturday at the park.

The Strolling Strings performed at the Governor’s Mansion Thursday and for a luncheon Friday. At the Governor’s Mansion, a member of the Mansion kitchen staff overheard Smith raving over the pie she had on her last visit.

“She went back and copied several lemon icebox pie recipes for me to take back with me,” she said.

Master Sgt. Todd Baldwin said there are 260 members in the U.S. Military Band that includes several units, such as a concert band, a jazz band, an orchestra and a chorus.

“We’re just two elements of the U.S. Army Band,” he said.

The Herald Trumpets were formed in 1959. Musicians who play in this section have backgrounds in brass instruments.

They routinely perform fanfares at the White House for visiting dignitaries and at Army honor arrival ceremonies.

Master Sgt. Charlotte Roberts plays cello with the Strolling Strings. This was her first visit to Mississippi.

She said she was impressed by the hospitality the group has felt.

Baldwin said playing for Schroeder’s visit was a highlight for him. This was his second trip to Mississippi; he, too, visited during “The Majesty of Spain” exhibit.

“The Glory of Baroque Dresden” opens Monday at the Mississippi Arts Pavilion in Jackson. It is the fourth exhibition organized by the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange.

Even though the bands travel quite a bit, Baldwin said, it’s rare that they’re able to take side trips.

“This is special. It’s amazing the impact Mississippi’s having with the Cultural Exchange,” he said.