Residents of the St. Louis area have several opportunities in the days and months ahead to connect through music with Airmen of the United States Air Force.
Whether it’s for a crowd of one or playing to a packed house, the passion and energy military bands have for mission, country, and making others feel valued is evident to see. These world-class Airman musicians who choose to serve in uniform, will be conducting a number of concerts in the local area.
On Oct. 21, the United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants, based out of Washington D.C., will perform at Belleville West High School from 7-9 p.m.
For Veterans Day, the Air Force Band of Mid-America, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, will perform Nov. 10 at Lincoln High School at 10 a.m., Grand Manor Retirement Community at 1 p.m. and Immanuel Lutheran Church at 7 p.m. On Veteran’s Day, they will be at the Springfield Veteran’s Day Parade at 10 a.m., the Belleville Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m., then later, at the Laclede Groves Retirement Community at 2:30 p.m. and finally at the St. Louis Blues game, 7 p.m. at the Scottrade Center.
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In December, the Band will also be conducting holiday concerts in St. Louis, Belleville, and the surrounding communities.
With these upcoming performances in mind, you may ask, “Why should I attend? What is the value of having military bands?” I hope to demonstrate that value through the lens of my experience working with and having recently traveled with these talented Airman musicians.
The Air Force Bands work continuously and tirelessly to keep Airmen, Veterans, and families connected with members of the American public. Many have deployed, and many will deploy — reaching our joint and combined partners as well as supporting Department of State diplomatic missions. They are professional representatives who convey messages of honor, hope, inclusion, patriotic service and sacrifice to all they come in contact with. Even a cursory glance at headlines around the world and the content of social media news feeds would suggest we could all benefit from investing time in such positivity and unity.
Each Band has purpose and mission, and communicates with effects in mind for each type of engagement. The connection is so much more than the good feelings the Bands generate.
The Band of Mid-America, at Scott AFB, specifically represents Air Mobility Command — the major command, or part of the U.S. Air Force, responsible for rapid global mobility. With each performance, the band seeks to ensure audience members get valuable insight on what it takes every day to move people and cargo around the world. Members of our audiences include elected officials, civilian leaders and everyday taxpayers who are valuable stakeholders in the nation’s defense. Therefore, it’s critical to demonstrate how Air Mobility Command delivers hope and relief to those affected by natural disaster; provides lifesaving medical care in flight; and fuels combat airpower in delivering the fight to our enemies around the globe — whenever and wherever called.
Our Bands stand ready to demonstrate the Air Force’s missions and vision through words, multimedia productions and of course, the precision and talent of the music itself.
One of the Bands’ missions is to assist in recruiting efforts for our Armed Forces. Bands — usually popular music groups — are frequent guests of high schools and even universities. Performing not only raises awareness of the military to those who might consider volunteering to serve the nation, but it is an up-close and personal way to connect with younger members of the community over the shared love of music and performing arts. Members of the Band frequently visit local schools, teaching students, and enriching the curriculum for our children.
Visiting hospitals, assisted living centers and Veterans Care centers is another way the Bands enhance relationships with those who might in some cases feel overlooked or forgotten. Especially with our nation’s veterans, it’s important to lift their spirits by reminding them of the honor their service perpetuates and that the nation never forgets its heroes.
Last week in Michigan and here locally, I saw tears in a widow’s eyes as memories stirred and transported her to a time where her loved one was still at her side. I saw veterans and family members alike embrace our musician Airmen with tremendous appreciation for them and the Air Force.
It takes a lot of teamwork and precision to quickly transport and set up the equipment for each show, flawlessly carry out the mission, communicate valuable information to the audience, and then tear down, load up and do it all again. Our bands do this on every trip for every show. But, come to think of it, that’s really a scaled down but relatable example of what Air Mobility Command and Airmen around the Air Force do all the time! Air Mobility Command gets it there, gets it done, resets, than does it all over again — all the time, everywhere, for the great nation we serve!
So whether it is connecting to a local high school student, a veteran’s group, or simply a crowd of people looking to unwind on a Friday evening with a little positivity and patriotic spirit, Air Force Bands are a great connector between the service, the communities and neighbors who support us.
I hope you’ll consider joining us on one of the many upcoming Air Force Band engagements here in the Metro St. Louis area!