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News
News | Nov. 23, 2022

The Airmen of Note are in full swing!

By Airman 1st Class Bill Guilliam, 11th Wing Public Affairs

The Airmen of Note, the premier jazz band of the United States Air Force, hit the ground running with a tour through Arizona and California, Nov. 9-20, 2022.

“The Airmen of Note is full of professional level musicians who play their instruments at the highest levels of musicianship,” said Master Sgt. Lucas Brandon, music director and trombonist for The Band. “When we put on our uniform and go out there and play music, we're representing our military members all over the world, who are just as sharp, just as talented, and we hope to embody that for the entire Air Force.”

The Airmen of Note started in 1950 as Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Forces dance band. Since then, The Airmen of Note has carried the tradition laid by Miller with performances around Washington D.C., tours across the United States, and overseas deployments. Today, the music demonstrated by The Airmen of Note reflects the excellence displayed by all Airmen stationed worldwide, whose selfless service and sacrifices ensure the freedoms enjoyed by citizens of the United States.

“It's given me a deep sense of purpose,” said Brandon. “And being in the military has allowed me to gain a new perspective on life. As we tour and represent military members all over the country, past and present, we are proud to be able to perform for them.”

On Veterans Day, The Airmen of Note had the opportunity to perform at Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler, Arizona for over 1400 audience members. In accordance with The Airmen of Note’s mission to “Honor, Inspire and Connect”, they led the audience in a round of applause to honor more than 500 veterans in attendance.

The ability to connect through music with the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States was on full display on Nov. 15, when The Airmen of Note performed for the students of Southwest High School in El Centro, California. The audience consisted of music students who were given the opportunity to ask the band members questions about music and the military.

One of the mentors was Master Sgt. Kristian Baarsvik, lead alto saxophonist for The Airmen of Note.

“It's really fun working with students,” Baarsvik said. “It was a really great group of kids that were really interested. It's always fun seeing that.”

Brandon also shared similar sentiments about mentorship and performing for a younger generation.

“My favorite moment so far was this clinic we just did, connecting with over 300 students from surrounding communities in El Centro,” said Brandon. “They were all super enthusiastic and so excited. It's the best part of the job to play for an audience like that and to be able to impart some wisdom to some younger musicians. One of those students may replace me one day and to inspire them and to encourage them is super important.”

The Airmen of Note finished the tour with performances in Long Beach and Torrance, near Los Angeles.

“It’s important to get out into communities that may not see members of the military all that often,” said Baarsvik. “And to be the face of the Air Force and represent our military, is the overarching purpose of this tour”

The music continues this month at Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., where their Season of Hope concert will feature The Concert Band and the Singing Sergeants performing timeless renditions of holiday favorites. They’ll be joined by the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir and the Virginia Ballet Company.