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The Report of the Camp Music Division

After the war ended, the CTCA’s Camp Music Division produced a Commission report entitled Camp Music Division of the War Department which detailed the military value of song. Published on June 30, 1919, the report included pictures, training procedures, and quotations from song leaders attesting to the effectiveness of the program. Quoting Major General J. Franklin Bell, “A singing army is a fighting army,” the idea of integrating music into the military training was entirely new. Song leaders were experimenting with ideas on how to win the attention of the soldiers while the military was looking for ways to constructively use their free time. They eventually realized the importance of singing and its many benefits. It improved morale, encouraged expression, and unified the diverse demographics of the soldiers. As an example, song leader Howard Wade Kimsey remembers how singing was first introduced to the soldiers at Fort Logan H. Roots, Arkansas in 1917:

"I well remember calling on a colonel and telling him that I should like to drill his men singing. His reply was, “Teach them to sing? Well what will they do for the boys next, give them ‘shammy’ skins and pink tea?” But he immediately had a company march up to headquarters and told me to try them out, and if I could make them sing he would let me have all of them. The boys were shy at first, but I soon had them going, and the colonel made a speech, and in a few days turned out the entire regiment for singing. This was the first work I ever did with men on drill time – about August 20, 1917."

Given the success of this program, it was important for the War Department to create an official experiment report detailing for the first time how significant music was to the military. It traces back the origins of the National Committee on Army and Navy Camp Music and lists its committee members who helped put together the Army Song Book and published the weekly newsletter, Music in the Camps.

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