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Music close to heart of local soldier

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Rozmarin finds time to serve his country and still pursue his passion for music.

Rozmarin, of Jonesboro, is a professional trombone player and first chair for the Army Ground Forces Band at Fort McPherson.

"I've been playing professionally for about 28 years," said Rozmarin. "I practice about two hours a day, and three and a half hours if I have an audition."

Rozmarin, who has been at Fort McPherson since April 2001, said that in order to execute a successful performance, he exercises his mind more than his fingers.

"It's a mental preparation typically, and I imagine myself on stage, on how I want to perform and produce a certain sound," said Rozmarin. "It has to start in my mind first before coming out in my instrument."

Major Domingos Robinson, commander of the Army Ground Forces Band, has been at Fort McPherson for a year and a half. Though he has been commander there for a short time, he said he recognized Rozmarin's musical talent right away.

"He is the best trombone player I have, and he is mature enough to be leader of his section," said Robinson.

Rozmarin's interest in music began during his seventh-grade year, in his home state of Nebraska.

"I didn't get serious with the trombone, maybe until I was a sophomore in high school," said Rozmarin. "I was first chair in the Nebraska Honor Band, which is a student band that represents the state."

Rozmarin later studied music at Boston University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1993. He earned a master's degree from the New England Conservatory in 1996.

"I decided to join the Army, because at that time I didn't have any full-time musical jobs," Rozmarin said. "I did a couple of opera festivals, but nothing full-time, so I joined to pay off my student loans, and I didn't want a desk job."

According to Rozmarin, he began his Army career as a specialist. Rozmarin joined the Third Infantry Division Band at Fort Stewart, in Hinesville.

As a specialist, he was in charge of keeping Fort Stewart's library in order, and providing the music for the band.

"We went over to Bosnia, and it was an eye-opener for me," said Rozmarin. "We played Christmas music in refugee camps. It was more of a community outreach."

Rozmarin was promoted to the rank of sergeant first class in October of last year, and was given responsibilities as platoon sergeant, equal opportunity representative and re-enlistment representative.

"As platoon sergeant, I am essentially responsible for squad leaders, and usually, if the squad leader has an issue, they come to me," said Rozmarin.

Aside from his military duties, Rozmarin finds the time to substitute at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

"My first concert with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was in 2002, and so far I've performed with them four times," said Rozmarin.

Music has also played a role in Rozmarin's romantic life.

He met his wife, Linda Carmona, a professional violinist, at an opera festival at the Des Moines Metro Opera in 1997.

"We were part of a summer orchestra in Indianola, Iowa, and I was playing the violin, and he was a trombone player," said Carmona. "Chris really works hard at his level of artistry, and trying to get his musicianship to the next level ... he's always reaching for something higher."