Air Force band will perform free concert

Published 12:54 am Sunday, August 5, 2007

The United States Air Force Band of the West Concert Band will present a free concert at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the Natchez Convention Center.

The performance, sponsored by The Natchez Democrat and the Natchez Tourism Department is open to the public, but seating is limited.

Tickets may be picked up between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., beginning Monday at The Natchez Democrat’s office at 503 N. Canal St.

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The band is a 45-member ensemble that represents the U.S. Air Force by performing music for formal military ceremonies, educational clinics and public concerts throughout the Southwest. At every performance they offer to the audience a wide range of entertaining music by preeminent composers.

The band’s repertoire consists of music from the Renaissance up to the present day ranging from serious symphonic band literature to Broadway musicals, and from Sousa marches to today’s popular hits.

The members of the band are highly skilled professional musicians coming from colleges and universities all over the nation to serve in the U. S. Air Force.

The USAF Band of the West has a long lineage in the United States Air Force. The band was created on Oct. 1, 1941 at Moffett Field, Calif., and moved to Enid Army Airfield soon after. With the birth of the United States Air Force in 1947, the band moved to what eventually became Lackland Air Force Base. The band was inactivated in 1955 but reactivated in 1959. The title “Band of the West” was used for years until May 1, 1997, when it was granted official status.

The USAF Band of the West travels more than 125,000 miles annually and provides more than 300 performances to military and civilian audiences throughout Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Louisiana. The band has been an integral part of the music scene in the Southwest for many years. The organization is made up of ensembles such as the Concert Band, Ceremonial/Marching Band, Dimensions in Blue jazz ensemble, two popular music groups, Warhawk and Top Flight.

Satellite groups within the unit include Gateway Brass, Southwest Winds, protocol combos, and Lone Star Ramblers dixieland jazz band. This diversity enables the USAF Band of the West to perform practically any style of music from classical and country to marches and mambos.

Tickets may be picked up beginning Monday morning at The Natchez Democrat’s office at 503 N. Canal St. Space is limited so request tickets early.