News>Premier AF concert band 'wows' fellow musicians at Midwest Clinic
U.S. Air Force Band Commander Col. Larry Lang involves fellow musicians in the audience during the performance of the national anthem at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 19, 2012. The U.S. Air Force Premier Concert Band performed three heart-pounding concerts for musicians, mentors and fans gathered from across the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
Tech. Sgt. Joshua Kowalsky, U.S. Air Force Band cellist, performs for thousands in attendance of the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill, Dec. 19, 2012. Every military band sets to exemplify the professionalism that is existent throughout everything in each one's branch of service. The non-verbal message that is communicated by the USAF Band's music is that every single task Airmen perform, across the globe, is done at this professional level. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
The U.S. Air Force Premier Band percussion ensemble performs for fellow musicians, friends, mentors and fans at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 19, 2012 The Air Force Band became the talk of the conference on opening day following their morning performance featuring several select ensembles to include the percussion musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
U.S. Air Force Band Clarinetist Tech. Sgt. Kristin King performs a solo piece at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 19, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
Tech. Sgt. Joseph Bello, U.S. Air Force Band euphonium player, performs alongside fellow Airmen musicians at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 19, 2012. Every six years the USAF Band has the opportunity to perform at the clinic as they rotate the experience with fellow premier bands from each military branch stationed in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
U.S. Air Force Band Harpist Senior Master Sgt. Eric Sabatino watches the conductor's baton during a performance at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic, Dec. 19, in Chicago, Ill. Each unique performance, built around this year's clinic theme "Honoring our Mentors," invited two guest conductors to the stage. Col. Arnald Gabriel (Ret.), the first conductor of the USAF Premier Band from 1964 to 1985, and Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, personal mentor to current USAF Premier Band Commander and Conductor Col. Larry Lang, both shared the baton with Lang during several of the musical pieces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
Musicians, family, friends, mentors and fans of the U.S. Air Force Premier Band give a standing ovation following the third and final performance by the band at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 19, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
Senior Master Sgt. Chris Kosky, U.S. Air Force Band bassist, is humbled by the crowd's reaction following a perfomance at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic, Dec. 19, 2012, in Chicago, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
U.S. Air Force Band Commander Col. Larry Lang and retired Col. Arnald Gabriel, USAF Band commander 1964-1985, watch a video tribute dedicated to Gabriel during a performance at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic, Dec. 19, 2012, in Chicago, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
U.S. Air Force Premier Concert Band Conductor Col. Larry Lang showcases the talents of Airmen musicians for thousands in attendance during the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic, Dec. 19, 2012, in Chicago, Ill. Every military band sets to exemplify the professionalism that is existent throughout everything in each one's branch of service. The non-verbal message that is communicated by the USAF Band's music is that every single task Airmen perform, across the globe, are done at this professional level. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
by Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton
Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
12/22/2012 - CHICAGO (AFNS) -- The U.S. Air Force Premier Concert Band performed three heart-pounding concerts for musicians, mentors and fans gathered from across the world, Dec. 19, here at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic.
The U.S. Air Force Band became the talk of the conference on opening day following their morning performance featuring several ensembles to include the Emmy-nominated Air Force Strings and a percussion piece that involved crowd participation.
"This is one of the most amazing bands in the United States and in the world," said Christopher Poncin, high school band director in the state of Washington. "They set the bar higher and higher every time I see them perform. We are fortunate and blessed here, at the Midwest Clinic, to see and experience an ensemble with such great conductors."
Every six years the USAF Band has the opportunity to perform as they rotate the experience with fellow military premier bands from each military branch stationed in Washington, D.C.
The USAF Band Clarinetist Tech. Sgt. Kristin King, a native of Chicago, performed a solo for thousands in attendance to enjoy.
"(During this conference) I've been able to perform for my high school band director in the audience as well as my parents, grandpa and several students that I've taught here in Chicago which was really special for me," King said. "It's a dream job to play alongside so many other wonderful professional musicians for amazing audiences both here, Washington, D.C., and across the country; it is just a fantastic experience."
Each unique performance, built around this year's clinic theme "Honoring our Mentors," invited two guest conductors to the stage.
Retired Col. Arnald Gabriel, the first conductor of the USAF Premier Band in 1964, and Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, personal mentor to current USAF Premier Band Commander and Conductor Col. Larry Lang both shared the baton with Lang during several of the musical pieces.
"It's really an honor and privilege to stand in front of these musicians yet again," said Gabriel who retired from the USAF in 1985. "The spirit, musicianship and enthusiasm -- it's a tribute to what we're doing in our universities across the nation."
After receiving the Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor during the final performance, Gabriel talked about how well the bands have been playing.
"The teaching is better than ever so the bands, graduates and Airmen are also better than ever," he said.
Following buzz from the band's morning performance at the Midwest Clinic, fellow musicians, friends, family, fans and mentors flocked to the two evening performances.
"This is a great opportunity for the leaders in music education as well as those who are looking to be future leaders in music education to see how well the Air Force Band does business," said 1st Lt. Peter Folliard, USAF Premier Band conductor.
The U.S. Air Force Band mission is to honor those who have served, inspire American citizens to heightened patriotism and service, and positively impact the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States of America.
"What a great way to end the night," said Poncin, who attended two of the band's three performances. "Thank you so much for everything you guys are doing; keep up the good work."
1/7/2013 9:17:44 AM ET The band performs one of the greatest community relations functions for the military. They perform in places that aren't near a base and keep the public image positive. They travel around the world to help our humanitarian efforts and gain trust from locals we are trying to help. Before you bash the band maybe you should figure out what they really do for the mission. Did you ever stop to think that without good community relations outreach efforts our ambassadors would be the idiot airman at the local bar or people like you who just complain about their jobs and budget cuts What taxpayer wants to fund a military that can't control its people No the band performs an important role that we need to maintain and they've had their fair share of budget cuts too.
1/3/2013 3:16:09 PM ET What a complete waste of tax payers money. How can these civilians get paid to put on uniforms and play instruments. They are not contributing a thing. Please know that i have attended some of the Band's performances and am familiar with their so called goals and objectives. I would request that DOD direct our tax payer dollars to the service members out there on the front lines actually serving our country and not these fruit loops.
Phil A, DC
1/3/2013 1:13:13 AM ET When the economy is good military service is unpopular etc. and recruiting is extremely necessary we should have things like the band Thunderbirds Sports sponsorships etc. When the economy is bad military service is popular etc. and we recruiting is essentially not needed to meet recruiting goals then we don't need those things. Get rid of them. We can bring them back when they are needed again.
Maj, Home for a change
1/2/2013 4:27:21 PM ET BigPictureAirman The band gives people deeper insight in a very nonthreatening influential manner music into why the AF is so important to maintain our culture way of lifeWHAT You WANT the Air Force to be considered nonthreatening I sure don't I want the USAF to be the Holy Wrath of God descending on and obliterating the enemy. I want people to see why we need bigger and badder warplanes to be able to handle any threat against our nation. I want air superiority The 66th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago trip was a boondoggle plain and simple. JB in VA I'm with you. There should be at least one live AF musician at every veteran's funeral.
1/2/2013 12:17:00 PM ET To Tim I understand your frustration You have never been to an AF Band concert don't understand its mission wish every single Airman was physically on the front lines First go see a concert and learn about the band's mission Second reality is most Airmen aren't physically on the front lines But most including the AF Band--premier band in DC small regionalguardreserve bands--are on the front lines in other ways The AF Band is part of public affairs for the AF It provides a critical link between the US public and the military through live events broadcasts etc It deploys It influences world leaders foreign dignitaries and military leaders Read all about it under ABOUT US at usafband dot af dot mil The band gives people deeper insight in a very nonthreatening influential manner music into why the AF is so important to maintain our culture way of life Could it make some cuts Sure and it already has and is bound to make more in the future This trip to Chicago was in front o
Big Picture Airman, Washington DC
1/2/2013 1:58:31 AM ET What was the point in sending the band to Chicago to perform for musicians mentors and fans I don't think you're recruiting anyone new into the service from that audience and all the quotes were about how great the band played. Of course they played great - they are professional musicians. But how did this TDY benefit the Air Force
Stuart, Leaping off the fiscal cliff Planet Earth
1/1/2013 11:36:21 PM ET This is a true waste of AF funds. With budget cuts this needs to be the first thing that needs to go. There are to many career fields that need manning. I keep hearing about change and adapt well let's change the need for the AF Band as an additional duty
1/1/2013 11:41:26 AM ET You know what I love... last year some states started playing a recording of Taps at military funerals due to budget limitations. Yet you can tell me with a straight face that the band fills a critical morale and publicity need. What's more important than paying final respect to the fallen And bigger question why are these people performing for diplomats and politicians instead of at those funerals You want to convince me it's worth the money and opportunity cost to have these civilians in military clothing on board... make sure not a single military funeral goes without live Taps. Or is there not enough glory and fanfare in that for these band members
12/31/2012 9:52:28 AM ET Keep the bands. These folks joined the service to do this. What we CAN get rid of are the lame military talent shows like Air Force Worldwide Talent Contest and the touring show Tops in Blue. These actually take airmen away from their real jobs while the people left behind pick up their work.
12/30/2012 6:49:37 AM ET It is not band bashing as much as it is realistic analysis. When fiscal constraints take away necessary manpower and other resources it is difficult to have morale boosted by the presence of an Air Force Band regardless of much they wow their contemporaries.
12/28/2012 10:10:22 PM ET So far comments are all on target. Tradition is very important but not at the cost of the mission. This particular band sounds like The One. Maybe we can get to just one. Get the other Airmen musicians back to their career field. I wonder if they're occupying a manning slot in the primary career field Airmen are being separated every day because they can't get a CJR.
Dave Brett, Florida
12/28/2012 7:40:22 PM ET In 2009 my brother a music teacher took me to an AF Premier Band concert and told me their story. With 25 years in the USAF I was embarrassed that I knew nothing about these musicians. I was stunned to learn they all have college degrees. Most with masters and many with doctoral degrees from Ivy league schools. They audition for positions and if accepted enlist to attend BMT. Upon graduation they become TSgts and go on to perform for world leaders and dignitaries. The bands like the rest of the USAF have and continue to take personnel and budget cuts. @Tim - before throwing stones read their story and bios on the usafband.af.mil website.
12/28/2012 10:33:02 AM ET Tim lighten up These REAL Airmen took the same oath as the rest of us and they serve as ambassadors for our great service
RL, Left Coast
12/27/2012 11:24:01 PM ET @TJ and Joe This is the same shortsighted argument that Air Force Navigators had as well. We dont keep outdated practices just because of Tradition. Navigators were replaced by GPS and Bands have been replaced by IPods. The fiscal reality is real we cant fund Tradition over war fighting effectiveness. I've participated in terminating considerably more terrorists than the band I assure you Stop trying to defend the un-defendable
12/27/2012 1:24:15 PM ET One person's FWA is another person's mission critical requirements and more importantly someone's EPROPR bullet.
Sgt whoever, flying in cyberspace
12/27/2012 12:52:24 PM ET I'm with Tim. The band is running around the world and I have to beg leadership for money for an oil filter.
12/27/2012 5:45:39 AM ET @Tim... How do we measure goodwill or esprit de corps Does tradition really matter in the military There may have been a time when we had too many bands but what we now have left is the bare minimum to sustain tradition. There are plenty of other programs to cut. Let us start with those and stop with the tired band-bashing rhetoric.
12/26/2012 4:04:41 PM ET Tim how many have you terminated
12/24/2012 12:34:18 PM ET Really ... With the state of our budget and the fact that we are cutting REAL warfighters from the AF ranks how do we justify having an AF Band. Can anyone say Fraud Waste and Abuse How may terrorists has the band terminated - ZERO