The Airmen of Note treat county to a night of jazz

By Madeline Otten, Correspondent

Rain did not put a damper on Fluvanna County’s Veterans Day.

Fluvanna County High School had the honor on Monday (Nov. 12) of hosting a free concert that presented the United States Air Force Band: The Airmen of Note.

At 7 p.m. sharp, FCHS band director Michael Strickler said a couple of words before welcoming the band on stage.
“I had the pleasure of seeing them when I was an undergrad at James Madison University and most recently at George Mason University,” said Strickler.

Once the band walked on stage, the audience quieted down and waited for the first note.

The Airmen of Note is a jazz band created in 1950 to continue the tradition of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force dance band. It is stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., and currently has 18 active duty Airmen musicians and one vocalist.

The Airmen of Note have been performing for audiences for years via annual tours across the United States, deployments around the world, and local performances throughout metropolitan D.C.

Their passion for music has attracted jazz artists from around the globe. Dizzy Gillesie, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, and Doc Serverinsen have all collaborated with Airmen of Note through performances or recordings.

In 1990 The Airmen of Note established the Jazz Heritage Series, which features the band in concert with famous jazz icons. Every year the series is broadcasted on National Public Radio, independent jazz radio stations, satellite radio services, and the internet.

The jazz band performed for an hour before the intermission. The first hour included introductions of the band members and songs inspired from Japan and India. The opening tune was named Sakura, after the cherry blossoms. They also performed the famous Beatles song Blackbird, which is on their newest album.

After the intermission, Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Burns invited Strickler up on stage to give sincere thanks for helping to sponsor the performance.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about you, Mr. Strickler, since I arrived. There are a daunting number of details and logistics for a single performance, and Mr. Strickler handled each one with precision and care,” Burns said.

Strickler was given framed pictures of the band for him to display at home or in his classroom.

The Airmen of Note strives to honor those who have served, inspire American citizens to heightened patriotism and service, and positively impact the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and United States.

To finish off the night, The Airmen of Note decided to play an extra song to give a special tribute to those in the audience of all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces by performing each branch’s anthem in honor of Veterans Day. Audience members were encouraged to stand when their branch was called.

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