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Merengue singer Melina León
Latin singer Melina León will help kick-off the Band's 2013 Guest Artist Series. (Photo provided by artist)
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Announcing the 2013 Guest Artist Series!

Posted 1/11/2013   Updated 1/23/2013 Email story   Print story


by Chief Master Sgt. Jenn Pagnard

1/11/2013 - Washington D.C. -- The United States Air Force Band is excited to announce the 2013 Guest Artist Series.

This year's series features four diverse and exciting artists. The performances will take place at historic Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in downtown Washington, D.C.

The series kicks off on Feb. 10 with two exciting performers, Melina León and Paquito D'Rivera. León is a Latin singer and actress who has performed the world over. She has been at the top of the Billboard tropical and Latin charts several times since beginning her recording career in 1997. In 2010, she won a Premio Lo Nuestro Award as Best Tropical Female Artist. Cuban American Paquito D'Rivera is celebrated for both his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer and is the winner of eleven GRAMMY Awards. This will be his third performance with musicians from The United States Air Force Band. They will perform with the U.S. Air Force Studio Orchestra.

On Feb. 24, the Band will welcome the American Rogues for an exciting show of Irish and Celtic music. A dynamic group of entertainers, they have a strong local following after their numerous appearances at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. This concert will also feature the Concert Band, Singing Sergeants, as well as one of the Band's small ensembles, Celtic Aire.

The series closes on Mar. 10 with country music legend, Lee Greenwood performing with the U.S. Air Force Orchestra. The California native was discovered in 1979 by Larry McFaden, who saw him performing in a show at the Nugget Casino in Sparks, Nevada. McFaden was the bass player and bandleader for Mel Tillis. He brought the singer to Nashville and got him signed to a record contract. He began working with producer Jerry Crutchfield, with whom he recorded his debut album "It Turns Me Inside Out." The title track became his first hit, followed by "She's Lyin", Ain't No Trick" and "Going, Going, Gone." It would be the first of many albums on three different labels in Nashville.

His most famous song, "God Bless the USA," has been voted the most recognizable patriotic song in America. The singer knows first-hand what it's like to have loved ones fighting for the freedom of all Americans as his father served in the Navy & the Merchant Marine in World War II. "God Bless the USA" went far beyond what Greenwood expected when he wrote it in the back of his tour bus in 1983. The song has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001 and 2003), giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It was also #1 on the pop charts after 9/11. Greenwood says, "USA is the song I always felt the need to write. I wanted to have something that would unite Americans from coast to coast. I wanted to instill pride back in the United States. The song represents my family, my community and those men and women who have paid the price for the freedoms we all love and enjoy."

Guest Artist Series concerts take place at D.A.R. Constitution Hall, 18th and D Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. Performances begin at 3 p.m. and are free and open to the public; no tickets are needed. Doors open at 2 p.m. For details about these and other U.S. Air Force Band performances, please call our 24-hour concert line at 202-767-5658 or visit our website.

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