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AF Concert Band, Singing Sergeants dazzle at Summer Concert Series kickoff

Col. Larry Lang, commander of the United States Air Force Band, conducts the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Col. Larry Lang, commander of the United States Air Force Band, conducts the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James introduces the U.S. Air Force Band's inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James introduces the U.S. Air Force Band's inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

A U.S. Air Force Honor Guardsman presents the colors during the opening ceremonies of the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

A U.S. Air Force Honor Guardsman presents the colors during the opening ceremonies of the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Capt. Joseph Hanson leads the U.S. Air Force Band during the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Capt. Joseph Hanson leads the U.S. Air Force Band during the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

The Air Force Singing Sergeants harmonize for the audience during the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

The Air Force Singing Sergeants harmonize for the audience during the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Col. Larry Lang, commander of the U.S. Air Force Band, conducts the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

Col. Larry Lang, commander of the U.S. Air Force Band, conducts the inaugural performance of the 2015 U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., May 29, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Just after sunset, a blue-suited orchestra begins a selection from the 1985 Western, “Silverado,” as three towering silver spires reflect the city’s skyline -- a setting that kicked off the U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series, which runs from May 29 through Sept. 11.

At the Air Force Memorial, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James in her opening remarks noted the theme, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” which she said showcases the 53-member active-duty concert band’s talent and resonation, and represents Airmen’s overall commitment to service.

“Our United States Air Force is representing our country, protecting Americans, American interests and allied interests … all around the world -- truly from every sea to every other shining sea,” James said. “That’s exactly what every branch of our military is doing -- working hard to protect all of us.”

James asserted there’s no better place to begin the concert than at the memorial, led by Col. Larry Lang, the Air Force Band commander and conductor, and emceed by Master Sgt. Janice Carl, a Singing Sergeants alto vocalist.

“This group of people assembled here … represents the 660,000 active-duty, National Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen who serve today in your United States Air Force as well as all of the many hundreds of thousands, millions, who have served prior,” James said.

Show highlights included the Air Force Singing Sergeants’ dueling barbershop quartets, which seemed to have cheering audience members torn in selecting a favorite.

“Barbershop is my favorite group to sing with, and only recently have we figured out more is better,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Haughton, a Singing Sergeants tenor as well as the Air Force Band’s Celtic Aire member. “The show grows and grows as the summer goes on, and I’d love to have all the children out here to participate since we plan to have an Irish step dance school join us for a show.”

Hundreds of spectators included veterans, tourists, family members and memorial visitors, who enjoyed not only music from across states, countries and eras, but got a glimpse of diplomacy.

“We want to represent that excellence (audiences) will find all over the world,” Lang said. “Music is that international language -- sometimes when words don’t make a difference, music can; it opens people’s emotions and hearts and sets the mood for diplomatic relations and talks that might not otherwise have taken place.”

The series offers free concerts at the Air Force Memorial, U.S. Capitol, Sylvan Theater and throughout the National Capital Region and features the Air Force’s rock band Max Impact, Singing Sergeants, Airmen of Note and much more.

For a complete list of dates and times, click here.

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