News Column

Celebrate Flag Day with Air Force Band of the Golden West

June 12, 2014

By Josh Kendrix, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

June 12--On Saturday, Yuba College will close out its Spring Public Events Series with a performance by the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West.

This is a special occasion on its own. But, as luck would have it, Saturday is also Flag Day, which makes the concert extra special.

"The whole idea behind this concert was to do a patriotic Flag Day performance," said master sergeant Jonathan Linker, who is one of the musicians in the band and acts as something of a tour manager for it.

In celebration, the Band of the Golden West will perform patriotic music with instrumental soloists and featured vocalists, as well as its usual repertoire of concert band literature and military marches and jazz and pop pieces.

"It will be nice to have a military band out there for Flag Day," Linker said.

In addition to the patriotic music, the concert will also feature a performance by the Blue Yonders, a group within the band that performs Irish-bluegrass songs. For this concert, the Blue Yonders will perform a medley of songs by the Beatles.

"It's a whole 10-minute set of Beatles songs," Linker said. "We're going to have a wide variety of music."

The Band of the Golden West is based at Travis Air Force Base, and is one of five Air Force bands in the continental U.S. It is the only band west of the Colorado Rockies and performs around the West Coast.

"We have 60 people total (in the band)," Linker said. "The concert band is the largest group, and has 50 members."

Musicians become members of the band by auditioning and, if accepted, going through basic training.

"We fall under the same rules as the rest of the Air Force," Linker said. "Members get deployed frequently. Some go overseas as musicians to entertain the troops or play for civilians."

The band's commander and conductor is Capt. Jason Plosch, in one of his last performances with the band before taking over as Commander of the USAF Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

The featured instrumental soloist is airman first class Alaina Pritz, who will perform the "Artie Shaw Concerto for Clarinet."

Featured vocalists include staff sergeant Megan May and senior airman George Brahler.

"It's great family entertainment," Linker said of the band's performances. "There's something for everyone.

"Our job in a lot of ways is to be a face of the Air Force for the public," he said. "Going out and doing these concerts is a chance ot represent the Air Force and demonstrate its professionalism and skill."


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Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)

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