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AF Band performs at 66th Annual Midwest Clinic
U.S. Air Force Band Clarinetist Tech. Sgt. Kristin King performs a solo piece at the 66th Annual Midwest Clinic, Dec. 19, in Chicago, Ill. "I was able to perform for my high school band director in the audience as well as my parents, grandpa and several students that I've taught here in Chicago which was really special for me," said King. "It's a dream job to play alongside so many other wonderful professional musicians for amazing audiences here, in Washington, D.C., and across the country; it is just a fantastic experience." (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Steele C. G. Britton)
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Band performs at international music conference

Posted 12/21/2012   Updated 12/21/2012 Email story   Print story


by Senior Master Sgt. Joe Jackson

12/21/2012 - CHICAGO -- The U.S. Air Force Concert Band and Ceremonial Brass performed three shows at the 66th annual Midwest Clinic here on Thursday, for thousands of music students, educators and professionals.

The theme of the conference was "In Honor of Our Mentors." Midwest Clinic president, Richard C. Crain said, "Every professional musician can point to 'those critically influential teachers' who always went the extra mile on our behalf: THE MENTOR, a wise and trusted counselor or teacher, an influential senior sponsor and lifelong supporter."

The U.S. Air Force Band kicked off the 2012 Midwest Clinic with a morning show that featured the a slide show of band members' mentors, which ran throughout the show.

The concert opened with John Williams' "Fanfare for Fenway" by the Ceremonial Brass, and featured a number of small ensembles: a string quartet from the A.F. Strings, the Concert Band's trombone, percussion and saxophone sections, as well as an octet from the Concert Band.

Also highlighted were the talents of baritone vocalist and Singing Sergeant, Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Park, who was thrilled by the reception. "I am so grateful to have the opportunity to wear this uniform, represent the Air Force to such a broad cross-section of the music education industry, and celebrate our shared commitment to the teachers and mentors who impact all of us so profoundly."

The concert culminated with a special guest conductor appearance of one of the great teachers and mentors for anyone who has ever served in an Air Force Band program, Retired Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, Conductor Emeritus of The U.S. Air Force Band.

As Gabriel took the stage, U.S. Air Force Band commander, Col. Larry H. Lang asked the audience a question. "How many people in this room have performed under the baton of Col. Gabriel?" That the majority of arms were raised illustrated the breadth and impact of Gabriel during his inspired career.

Two evening performances featured the Ceremonial Brass and Concert Band performing a wide variety of music, from Dmitri Shostakovich's epic "October," to Joel Puckett's "Asimov's Aviary, to world premiers of new works by Air Force Band composers, Senior Master Sgt. Bob Thurston and Master Sgt. Alan Baylock.

Joining The Band on stage and conducting John Mackey's "Sheltering Sky" was one of Lang's most important mentors, Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser.

Prior to Lautzenheiser's performance, Lang expressed his gratitude to the audience. "As in the music and music education world, we in the U.S. Air Force pride ourselves on a robust and interconnected community of mentors, leaders and teachers to give us the skills and support we need. Without mentorship, the excellence that occurs in the Air Force every day, across the world would not be possible."

The last evening performance culminated again with a guest conducting appearance by Gabriel. Following his masterful job of conducting The Band through Giuseppe Verdi's "La forza del destino," the Midwest Clinic presented a visibly emotional Gabriel with a lifetime achievement award for his decades of profound impact on the field of music education.

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