Scott Air Force Base News

Band of Mid-America inspires, educates in Minnesota

Second Lt. Brandon Hults, associate conductor of BOMA, leads the Band of Mid-America during its final concert of its Minnesota tour. Hults is the newest member of the band and said, “I’m absolutely excited to connect with our audiences in our 10-state area and to be able to tell the story of our Air Force and what we do at Air Mobility Command.”
Second Lt. Brandon Hults, associate conductor of BOMA, leads the Band of Mid-America during its final concert of its Minnesota tour. Hults is the newest member of the band and said, “I’m absolutely excited to connect with our audiences in our 10-state area and to be able to tell the story of our Air Force and what we do at Air Mobility Command.”

The Band of Mid-America recently traveled to multiple venues across Minnesota to inform communities about Air Force milestones and their local military organizations.

The performances included a series of historical tributes, including World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen and Navajo Code Talkers, which proved to connect the audience members to military service.

Connecting people and ideas is what it’s all about. It’s not about STEM, it’s not about arts, it’s about how we put the two together to generate the skills and innovative sense that we need for the Air Force and for our country.

2nd Lt. Brandon Hults, associate conductor of BOMA

“It was fantastic,” said Trevor Suess, a sophomore studying music education at the University of Minnesota. “The Navajo Code Talkers and the piece about the Tuskegee Airmen—those were both really wonderful. It was cool to see that inclusion of diversity and lesser-known units in the military.”

For a handful in attendance, the concert was the first time they ever engaged with military members, so BOMA ensured the event also helped educate the community about its local military units.

“A lot of people might think that Minnesota doesn’t have much of a military presence because we don’t have any active installations,” said Col. Tony Polashek, commander of the 934th Airlift Wing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station. “We have over 5,000 members that serve here. The state of Minnesota has the fourth largest population of guardsmen and reserve in the country, so we actually have a lot of military who live locally and serve globally.”

The 934th AW’s mission is to fly C-130 cargo aircraft, delivering cargo and people. They also have an aeromedical evacuation mission within their theater of operations. Upon mobilization orders, the wing deploys to become part of active-duty AMC.

When they merge with AMC, they become a part of the mission to provide rapid global mobility, said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Martin, the concert’s emcee and BOMA staff composer.

“AMC can transport personnel and equipment to any location in the world within 24 hours,” said Martin to the crowd. “We’ve sent contingency response teams to Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands where we’ve brought supplies, conducted medical air evacuations, and partnered with civil authorities in order to provide other types of relief. Getting all of that to happen isn’t easy, and it takes tons of teamwork.”

Part of BOMA’s mission is to use music as a bridge the younger generation to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics and related capabilities offered as careers in the Air Force.

The performances were vehicles to highlight Total Force teamwork and the significance of local units.

Jenni Petersen-Brant, the marketing director for the Chatfield Center of the Arts where BOMA’s second concert occurred, spoke about how important this exposure and education is to the array of generations the concert attracted.

“Even though we don’t have an active duty military base, I feel that Chatfield is a very down-to-earth, patriotic community,” said Petersen-Brant. “This gives them an opportunity to connect with people who they normally wouldn’t get to connect with and demonstrates the different roles that people can have in the military.”

Jeffrey Cooper, scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America Troop 43 in Chatfield, said he hoped the experience would instill in his attending Boy Scouts the same nostalgia he had from his first military band experience.

“What I got out of it when I was younger was a whole new sense of patriotism and then another possibility of where music can take you,” said Cooper. “I’m hoping these guys get to see a different side of the military than what they’re used to seeing on TV.”

While he knew the military offered communications and flying opportunities, 14-year-old Boy Scout Caiden Folken wasn’t sure what other careers the Air Force might have. He said he hoped to leave the performance learning something about opportunities available to him after he finishes school.

To help audience members understand the different opportunities in the Air Force, musicians broaden the perspective of others through their performance and engaging with audience members after the show, said 2nd Lt. Brandon Hults, associate conductor of BOMA.

A lot of people might think that Minnesota doesn’t have much of a military presence because we don’t have any active installations. We have over 5,000 members that serve here. The state of Minnesota has the fourth largest population of guardsmen and reserve in the country, so we actually have a lot of military who live locally and serve globally.

Col. Tony Polashek, commander of the 934th Airlift Wing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station

“They’re able to connect, have an opportunity to talk and understand what the Air Force offers,” said Hults.

Part of BOMA’s mission is to use music as a bridge the younger generation to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics and related capabilities offered as careers in the Air Force.

“Connecting people and ideas is what it’s all about,” said Hults. “It’s not about STEM, it’s not about arts, it’s about how we put the two together to generate the skills and innovative sense that we need for the Air Force and for our country.”

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