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Air Force Band performs Monday in Yuma
• Gila Ridge High School
7150 E. 24th St.
• Kofa High School
3100 S. Avenue A
• Cibola High School
4100 W. 20th St.
• Yuma High School
400 S. 6th Ave.
• San Luis High School
1250 N. 8th Ave., San Luis, Ariz.
Note: Tickets available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Some of the U.S. Air Force's finest musicians are trading the wild blue yonder for the open road, touring the West Coast to thrill patriotic hearts and pay tribute to this country's veterans.
The U.S. Air Force Concert Band brings its powerful combination of music and military to Yuma on Monday. The musicians plan to present a free concert for the public, plus reach out to young musicians while they're in town.
The Air Force Concert Band's concert is set for 7 p.m. Monday at Gila Ridge High School, 7150 E. 24th St. The concert is free, but tickets are required (see adjoining list for ticket locations).
“We are genuinely looking forward and honored to perform for the wonderful patriotic citizens in your community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States of America,” Col. Larry Lang told the Yuma Sun in a phone interview.
Lang is conductor of the U.S. Air Force Concert Band, which features 53 musicians.
The band, which is based in Washington, D.C., began its short tour last week in Northern California. The group performs 12 times in all, including a show at Disneyland. The tour culminates with a concert at Gammage Memorial Auditorium in Tempe.
Traveling with the band are the Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the U.S. Air Force, made up of 18 actual sergeants. A section of the Air Force Color Guard also travels with the band.
The band calls its current show “Carnival,” a mix of musical styles representing cultures from around the world.
“The music not only reflects the diversity of the Air Force, but also celebrates the diversity of our nation and how music brings us together, across all cultures,” the colonel said.
For the Yuma performance, the band will be joined on stage by young musicians from this area. Band musicians and students from Gila Ridge, Kofa, Cibola, Yuma and San Luis high schools will present Karl King's “Cyrus the Great” march.
The military musicians also plan to present an educational clinic earlier that day at Gila Ridge High School.
Lang oversaw regional Air Force bands in several states before receiving his current assignment in March. The colonel is responsible for an 184-member squadron, which deploys musicians to perform nearly 1,600 missions a year. He is also responsible for executing a $2.9 million budget and caring for a physical plant and equipment worth $28 million.
“The USAF Band represents the best of the best in our Air Force band career field,” said Lang, “and the excellence demonstrated by our airmen-musicians is a reflection of the excellence carried out 24 hours a day by over 500,000 airmen stationed around the globe. These professionals are proud to represent all airmen, whose selfless service and sacrifices ensure the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.
“We have a very exciting mission. Our first and most important mission is to take care of our troops, boost troop morale. We perform many concerts in the Middle East for our troops who are fighting for us. We also play over 1,000 services a year at Arlington National Cemetery to honor our fallen.”
The musicians' second mission requires them to hit the road stateside.
“We love going across the United States and showing people the face of the Air Force, so to speak. Sometimes people never actually get the chance to meet an airman,” Lang said.
“Music brings people together and brings out so many emotions and stories. Music lets us talk about the Air Force mission in such a beautiful way.”
Features editor Darin Fenger can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6860.