The U.S. Air Force Band 75th Anniversary Reunion Concert brought back former conductors including (from left) Col. (Ret.) Dennis Layendecker, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Mark Peterson of Fairfax Station, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Craig Jessop, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Phillip Carl Chevallard, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Amy Mills, Col. (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, current Air Force Band conductor Col. Larry Lang, Col. (Ret.) Lowell Graham, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Alan Sierichs and Col. (Ret.) H. Bruce Gilkes.
Photo by Tim Peterson.
The U.S. Air Force Band celebrated its 75th anniversary with a reunion concert on June 11 at the George Mason Center for the Arts.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James welcomed the audience to the event.
Nine former commanders returned to the stage to conduct, including Fairfax Station resident Lt. Col. (Ret.) Mark Peterson, who directed the sweeping emotional work “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from ‘Lohengrin’” by Richard Wagner.
Current and former members of the Concert Band, Air Force Strings, Ceremonial Brass and Singing Sergeants played a wide variety of classic and new music. The program included world premieres of civilian composer John Mackey’s rhythmic labyrinth “Liminal” and band member Master Sergeant Kent Baker’s (French horn) Ceremonial Brass feature “75/29/30,” written specially for the anniversary performance.
The final two pieces, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Air Force Song,” saw the largest assembly of U.S. Air Force musicians on stage at the same time.