Performing a tribute to the red, white and blue, the Air Force Academy Falconaires will perform for the concert series “Jazz in the Garden” at Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Friday.
“We honor the people who have come before us, we inspire the future people of our Air Force and we connect to the public,” said group leader Chris Hammiel.
It’s a concert for everyone, featuring classic jazz tunes, lighthearted feel-good tunes and, of course, a patriotic mix.
The band has been around since the inception of the Air Force Academy and continues to ring patriotism throughout the region, including Utah, Kansas, New Mexico and more.
Auditioning is a rigorous process, with the Air Force recruiting those with bachelors, masters and even doctorates in music. It starts with 20 music recordings.
“Out of that 20, we might invite six to eight people and then we select the member from that pool,” Hammiel said. “Sometimes we have auditions and don’t hire anybody.”
Each member is an enlisted airman musician, with the sole purpose of supporting the academy through musical performance. After all, Hammiel said, music is a universal language.
“No matter what culture, language or faith, music bridges all those gaps. You can be a different culture, but if I’ve played a song that can get you feeling a certain way, then I’ve done my job.”
Music bridges the gap across the seas. All military bands are deployed to play music for the men and women serving overseas. While in Afghanistan, the Falconaires joined local Afghan musicians for a live-radio performance that aired across that country.
“It was extraordinary,” Hammiel recalls.
Their overall mission overseas: to carry the applause in the states to those serving across the world.
“We take those warm thoughts and greetings and let them know that the country loves them and is thinking of them and really supporting what the are doing,” Hammiel said
Deployments abroad can be difficult, Hammiel added. For those enjoying the Falconaires, a perfomance offers a briet respite from stressful duties and missing home.
Falconaires always perform their shows with purpose — one they hope sticks close to the audience, Hammiel said.
“It’s their Air Force and their Air Force Academy. I hope that they see the Air Force in a different light than they did before, and just be proud of what the armed forces are doing for our nation.”
Sofia Krusmark, The Gazette,