They’re free. They’re nearby. And they represent some of the top talent of The U.S. Air Force Band.
They are the Chamber Players Series concerts, which are presented at various venues, including The Lyceum and George Washington Masonic Memorial 10 months a year.
Now in its fourth year, the concert at The Lyceum has a regular audience of almost 100 people. The audience at the Masonic Memorial is still building, as the group started giving concerts there only last fall.
“We’re still growing,” said David Nokes, Office of Public Affairs. Master Sgt. Gil Corella, tuba player, said. “The musicians love doing it. It’s more personal and gives the public an opportunity to meet the musicians.”
Nokes said, “One of the reasons we exist is that people can relate to music.”
All of the musicians who perform are members of The U.S. Air Force Band, created more than 60 years ago. There are several components of the band, including Concert Band, Singing Sergeants, Air Force Strings, Airmen of Note, Ceremonial Brass, High Flight, Silver Wings, Diplomats and Chamber Players.
Some of the chamber groups are put together with members of different Air Force Band components, and Nokes said, “It creates a synergy among the different groups."
ON MAY 3, Master Sgt. Anthony Kirkland and Tech. Sgt. Michael Bosch presented “An Evening of Music for Trumpet” at The Lyceum. Kirkland and Bosch compiled the program, which included Sonata in D major; Concerto in F minor; Sonate für Trompete in B und Klavier; Variations on the “Carnival of Venice”; “Macbeth and Macdonwald for Trumpet and Percussion; and Suite in D major. They were joined by percussionist SMSgt Mark Carson and pianist Linda Head.
Last week, another concert was given at George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Bosch returned with his trumpet and was joined by Master Sgt. Todd Hanson on the trombone, Master Sgt. Gil Corella on the tuba and Tech. Sgt. Joshua Lies on the trumpet. The concert was called “An Evening of Music of Brass Quartet.”
In the audience was Col. James Riggins, 11th Operations Group Commander, and his wife, Elise. He had come to support the musicians and enjoy the concert.
With no one to conduct but the players themselves, they seemed to need no help getting synchronized, and with a nod of the head, they started their various selections.
After the first piece, Bosch introduced the members of the quartet, and he and Corella took turns introducing subsequent pieces of music. They were both very knowledgeable about the music, and it appeared that they had spent some time compiling the program, which covered music from the 1500s to the 1900s.
Before they played a quartet written by Arthur Frackenpohl, Corella Spoke talked about the three movements. He explained that the first movement would be melodic, the second like a folk melody and the third a dance rhythm and melodic. "You won't know which way to tap your foot, but it all works out," he said.
In speaking about his experience with the chamber series, Corella said, "We serve two roles — that of a musician and that of an airman. This is part of our mission as Air Force Band members."
After a short intermission, the performers returned for four more pieces. Their final tune was the "Royal Garden Blues," which Bosch explained in some detail, saying that it was written for a full Dixie band. "As you can see, we're missing a few musicians." He also said that it was written for three trumpets, but "a trombone player can do it, he just has to work harder."
All concerts are free to the public. The next one will be held on May 24, at 8 p.m. at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St. Concerts will resume in September.
For complete schedule, call 202-767-5658 or visit their Web site at www.bolling.af.mil/band.