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NEWS | Nov. 20, 2006

New band rehearsal hall easier on ears

By James Coburn 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

A new rehearsal facility for the Air Force Band of the West "should really
improve the quality of what we're hearing and reduce the decibel levels," the
band's director said Monday following a Sept. 20 ribbon cutting.

The old band hall "is way too small for the number of folks (up to 45) we have
in there at any one time," said Maj. Dean Zarmbinski, commander and director of
the band.

He said the facility "should dramatically improve our ability to hear one
another in that room, just because it has more cubic feet of space. It's got a
higher ceiling and a lot more square footage (about 3,900 square feet, double
the current hall). We should get in this week, I hope."

Col. Eric Wilbur, vice commander of the 37th Training Wing, was keynote speaker
for the ribbon cutting at the new facility, located a block north of Truemper
Street off George Avenue.

"This building is the first newly constructed facility the Band of the West has
ever enjoyed, and it is the most significant improvement made to their
facilities in their 59-year history here at Lackland," Colonel Wilbur said.

"Since 1994, the band has been forced to practice in a facility too small for
their needs," he said. "The large number of musicians in the band performing
together in the small facility produced sound levels not conducive to rehearsal.

This new facility and the acoustic design features allow these ensembles to
train in an environment similar to that in which they will perform, giving them
the capability to rehearse artistic nu-ances in the music prior to a

Colonel Wilbur said the $720,000 facility will be used as the main rehearsal
hall for the Concert Band, Dimensions in Blue big band, and the Warhawk Show
Band. He said the Concert Band and the big band - recreating the look and sound
of the 1940s Glenn Miller Army Air Corps Jazz Band - are primarily used to
spread awareness about Air Force professionalism and capabilities to communities
throughout Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

"This new facility assures our ambassadors from the Band of the West are able to showcase the Air Force with dazzling music performances," he concluded.