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Before many restrictions came in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to go on tour with the Air Force Band. We started with a performance in Mississippi before traveling to Kentucky and West Virginia for performances in those two states. This tour was a little unusual in that it was earlier than normal, and we combined two different kinds of performances. We toured earlier than usual so we could perform at the American Bandmaster’s Association conference, a gathering of the very finest band educators and professionals. When we perform for an audience of musicians we tend to perform different music than what we normally would for a typical “outreach” concert. This is always a lot of fun for us becuase the music is very challenging and we know the audience is very critical.
The rest of the tour consisted of our normal “outreach” concerts where we bring a little taste of the military to communities that may not get to see active duty military frequently. We always take the opportunity to feature some of our talented musicians as well as honor veterans in the community. The best part of these performances is meeting the audience members before and after the concert. We get to hear their stories, whether they served themselves, have a family member who served or serves, or are simply music lovers. These tours give me a chance to see parts of the country I might not otherwise experience, and I get to see what makes America so great – it’s people. I have the privlidge of meeting people from all walks of life and it is truly humbling to hear their stories and celebrate their communities.