USAF Band Surprises Commuters At DC Train Station
By 1st Lt. Esther Willett, Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs / Published December 04, 2015
WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Members of the U.S. Air Force Band surprised commuters at Union Station with a World War II holiday flashback Dec. 3.
The event was designed to be a special holiday musical presentation celebrating the service and sacrifices of the nation’s WWII veterans.
“This is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. We’re trying to honor our veterans from the greatest generation,” said Col. Larry Lang, the band’s commander, and conductor. “We’ve jumped back into that really cool swing music and designed some music just for them.”
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James signaled the beginning of the concert by handing a pair of drumsticks to a solo drummer from the band’s Airmen of Note. Tech. Sgt. David MacDonald then began the eight-minute performance during which musicians from the band slowly emerged from hiding dressed in WWII-era uniforms to perform a lively musical arrangement of “Jingle Bells” and “Auld Lang Syne.”
“On a piece like this, I get a little bit more nervous than normal because it’s a big performance,” MacDonald said. “Right before we start, I’m trying to get my head in the game, focus on the music, and remember how we rehearsed the piece.”
The spontaneous nature of the performance made it special, but it also created unique musical and logistical challenges, MacDonald said before the event.
“Our challenge is to make sure we remain focused,” said Master Sgt. Tyler Kuebler, a clarinetist with the Airmen of Note. “It’s going to be very reverberant and hard to hear. People aren’t going to be sure what’s happening at first, and we want the audience to be included, to feel like they are part of the experience.”
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