The University of Alabama

Gottlieb to Perform Overseas for Military with Actor Gary Sinise’s Band

Beth Gottlieb (back row, fourth from left) is shown here with the members of the Lt. Dan Band, which includes actor Gary Sinise (front row, third from left). Beth Gottlieb (back row, fourth from left) is shown here with the members of the Lt. Dan Band, which includes actor Gary Sinise (front row, third from left).

Thanksgiving will be a little different this year for Beth Gottlieb, a percussion instructor in the School of Music. Instead of eating turkey with her family, she and other members of a 12-piece cover band led by actor Gary Sinise will be entertaining hundreds of military troops in Afghanistan. 

“It’s kind of scary, but it’s kind of exciting, too,” Gottlieb said. 

Gottlieb plays percussion in the Lt. Dan Band, which draws its name from the character Sinise portrayed in the movie “Forrest Gump.” She and her husband, drummer Danny Gottlieb, joined the group in 2005 after meeting Sinise while performing in the orchestra at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Candlelight Processional. The band has performed dozens of concerts for military troops in the United States and overseas as part of tours arranged through the USO and Armed Forces Entertainment. 

Gottlieb, a 1983 graduate of UA, said this real-world experience lends itself to the classroom. “You really need to be out there performing and doing what we do to be able to be a good teacher,” she said. “Every time I’m out there playing, I can bring back what I learned to my students.” 

Dr. Kenneth Ozzello, director of bands and a professor in the School of Music, said Gottlieb’s credentials are impressive. “She’s fantastic, and she’s really energized our students,” he said. “The fact that she’s an alumnus of the program makes it even more special.” 

At press time, Gottlieb was scheduled to leave Nov. 20 for Afghanistan. The band’s full crew were to fly on a military plane, accompanied by bodyguards for the whole trip. 

“I think this will be really cool for these troops who are there for Thanksgiving,” Gottlieb said. “I’m going to try and take them some presents, just to give them a slice of home.”