On Dec. 7, 2020, members of the 287th Army Band of the Delaware National Guard were on site at Buena Vista to video-record segments of their virtual holiday-concert-series, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Featuring online performances by a wide variety of ensembles from within the band, the 12-part series was launched on Dec. 14, 2020 on the band’s social media sites — YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Each new video in the series will be posted daily at 1 p.m. between Dec. 14 and Dec. 25, 2020. Access to the videos is free and open to the public.

Photo of the 287th Army Band’s Septessence ensemble
Members of the 287th Army Band’s Septessence ensemble “finger synching” on the porch of Buena Vista.

In compliance with the state’s coronavirus guidelines, the 2020 virtual-concert-series was created in lieu of the holiday performances that the band normally gives in communities across the state during December. In addition to Buena Vista, segments were recorded, without an audience, at sites administered by the Historic Odessa Foundation, 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Joint Force Headquarters, and the Wilmington and Western Railroad.

Photo of members of the 287th Army Band’s jazz combo
Members of the 287th Army Band’s jazz combo in the Buck Library at Buena Vista.

During the morning recording sessions at Buena Vista on Dec. 7, musicians “finger synced” their parts in time with previous audio-recordings of the band. In the afternoon, small ensembles were recorded live in accord with proper social-distancing guidelines.

Photo of an ensemble featuring the 287th Army Band’s trombone quartet
Ensemble featuring the 287th Army Band’s trombone quartet in the main hallway at Buena Vista.

The 287th Army Band was organized in Wilmington, Del. in 1921 and was originally the band of the 198th Coast Artillery Regiment. The ensemble served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater in World War II being stationed at Bora Bora and later occupied Japan. The band has traveled to Bolivia in 1993 and Germany in 2005.

The main section of the Buena Vista mansion house was built between 1845 and 1847 by John M. Clayton, United States secretary of state from 1849 to 1850 under presidents Taylor and Fillmore, and United States senator from 1829 to 1836, 1845 to 1849, and 1853 until his death in 1856. The home later became the residence of C. Douglass Buck, governor of Delaware from 1929 to 1937 and United States senator from 1942 to 1948. Buena Vista and its grounds were donated to the state by the Buck family in 1965 and now serve as a conference/event center administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.