The U.S. Air Force: A Spectacular Concert

Tyrone Whitted Jr, Staff Writer

GSU hosted a jazz concert on Octfeaturing the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, an astonishing performance featuring music from today’s composers, jazz music, traditional marches, and more.  

The concert was a celebration of both the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, which took place in July of 1969, and  the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. Airman 1st Class Dana Bowers and Senior Airman Melissa Edgmon displayed their talents by singing iconic songs from The Wizard of OzThe Wiz (A reimagining musical film in 1978 based off of the 1900s Wizard of Oz), and Wicked (Also a reimaging musical in Broadway made in 2008).  

The first portion of the concert featured symphonic music that resonated throughout the room; even a person in the very back row could feel as if they’re practically in front of the stage. As I took my seat in the back row of the theatre, the symphonic performance ended and the band began playing pop music, which was an amazing performance. 

After the band finished the pop and modern music performance, 2nd Lt. Brandon Hults recited James Beckel’s “From the Earth, To the Moon, And Beyond.” As the orchestra played soothingly in the background, Lt. Hults’ performance took the audience through a quick history of humanities, from Greek philosopher Pythagoras’s round earth theory, to Apollo 11. The entire speech was both incredible as it was nostalgic.  

While listening to the orchestra and watching the projection screen play images of space, the moon landing, the making of Apollo 11, I felt like I was a kid sitting in science museum watching images of space and galaxies play by. A feeling that some of us may have felt when we were kids. 

Intermission followed the performance of From the Earth, To the Moon, And Beyond,” and the audience settled in for the second half of the concert. It began Airman Bowers singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of OzSoon after she finished singing, Bowers was joined by Airman Edgmon in a duet with these next three songs: For Good by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth in WickedEase on Down the Road by Charlie Smalls in The Wiz, and Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News by Mabel King in The Wiz. An amazing performance with music that would make you want to dance a little bit in your chair – exactly what some of children in the audience did.  

The orchestra wrapped everything up by paying respects to the veterans who served in WWII and the Vietnam War, as well as to current members of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Air Force with songs representing each branch. Folks from the crowd stood when songs for their branch of the service was performed. The performance was a fine “thank you” for veterans and current members of the military for serving our country. 

The concert culminated with the audience standing and singing along with the band to “God Bless America.” While the audience sang, some family members and elders joined hands. 

It was a spectacular experience that no one could ever forget. What I noticed during the concert, mainly near the end, is that the families that came were more connected with each other. Some of the people in the audience probably fought alongside each other or lost a friend or a son, a daughter, probably a significant other due to war. Whatever the case may be, the concert not only brought a fantastic experience, but brought together friends, brothers-in-arms, and family.  

And that made The Band of Mid-America an even more spectacular concert.