Air Force, RAF join forces for band centennial celebration

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Valentina Viglianco
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Concert Band and Britain’s Central Band of the Royal Air Force performed together in the RAF Centenary Concert at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., April 16, 2018.

The concert celebrated the RAF’s 100th anniversary and was part of the Central Band’s four-day U.S. tour in the National Capital Region from April 15 to 19.

The two military ensembles not only celebrated the RAF’s anniversary, but also performed together to pay tribute to the 70-year strategic relationship between British and American forces.

“This was more than just one night of two bands coming together,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jay Heltzer, Concert Band trombonist. “The RAF and the U.S. Air Force have a shared history and have combined their forces on many different campaigns. We are celebrating the long partnership between Britain and the U.S., and I look forward to continue celebrating this partnership.”

The RAF was first formed on April 1, 1918, following the consolidation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

“It’s amazing and slightly surreal to be part of the first air force in the world,” said Cpl. Johnathan Hill, Central Band trombonist.

The four-day celebration featured the two bands, as well as the British Queen’s Colour Squadron, which performed in a series of outreach events, including concerts and aerial demonstrations that honor the history of the RAF and its alliance with the U.S. Air Force, which is a top priority for the branch.

“This event is good for strengthening alliances between the U.S. and Britain,” Hill said. “The more alliances there are between people, the more people get familiar with each other and understand one another’s values and customs. It builds a bond of trust.”

The RAF has spent the past 100 years as a pioneer in the world of aviation and has acted as one of America’s leading allies across the globe.

More than 1,500 people from the local community attended the DAR Constitution Hall concert to celebrate the partnership.

“My wife and I have been to lots of U.S. Air Force Band events and we are big fans,” said retired U.S. Air Force Col. Dan Coslov. “It’s nice to have the RAF Central Band in America and it’s nice to see the English and American friendship in this performance.”