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JBSA News
NEWS | Oct. 31, 2014

Band of the West to give tribute to veterans at Majestic Theater

By Senior Airman Krystal Jeffers Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland

The Air Force Band of the West Concert Band is scheduled to perform a Veteran's Day concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio.

This concert will feature the music by John Philip Sousa, John Williams, Leroy Anderson, Gustav Holst, Carmen Dragon, William Owens, and Glenn Miller.

However, the composers were not picked randomly or just for the music that they created.

"A lot of the composers have that military tie; they are veterans themselves," Rider said.

For example, Anderson served in the Army Air Corps as an intelligence officer and translator. Williams was once enlisted in the Air Force and Owens served in the Army and received the Legion of Merit for his service in the Philippines.

"We are playing something for everyone," elaborated Master Sgt. John Rider, Band of the West NCOIC of concert and tuba player. "We are going to highlight American composers and patriotic music like pieces from Maj. Glenn Miller and the World War II era."

"We tried to create a varied program (of music) with different styles that speaks to the audience and will be entertaining," added Master Sgt. John Pranter, Band of the West NCO in charge or productions and trombone player.

Their music will feature traditional concert band melodies, music from the movies and jazz in addition to other tunes. The Texas Children Choir will also be making an appearance and will be singing of some of the patriotic pieces. The songs were a way for the musicians and the military to give thanks to the community, the veterans and their families.

"This is a tribute to our veterans: the ones who are serving now and our past veterans," Pranter said. "Our past veterans paved the way for us to do what we do today. We owe all of our freedoms to them and to our current veterans."

Pranter, a native of Oklahoma City, wasn't the only member of the band to hold strong feelings for the upcoming performance and a desire to perform for the public and give thanks.

"The most important thing we (Band of the West) do is honor our veterans and to thank the community at large for all of their support," Rider said. "It serves as a reminder too that we have a lot of overseas engagements and that we have men and women in harm's way every day all across the world."

For the native of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., Veterans Day holds additional personal meaning. His father was an Air Force captain and is a blind disabled Vietnam veteran.

"I personally understand the sacrifices that the families make," He said. "This (event) has a big impact on me and this is one way I can help thank veterans and their families."

The Air Force musicians spoke excitedly of the upcoming concert and being able to provide a show for the public.

"It is going to be an amazing concert, just spectacular," said Pranter. "This band has some amazing and highly educated and trained musicians. We get to show what we do best for the Air Force; our skills as musicians and as Airmen. It is our chance to shine and show the Air Force to the public. It's very exciting and it's kind of magical the way the energy of the band combines with the energy of the audience."

"It is going to be a tremendous concert," Rider said. "The event should be pretty powerful emotionally."

The musicians also spoke of many hopes they had for the concert. One is breaking the stereotype concept of a veteran.

"We want to provide a better idea of what a veteran is," Rider said. "Veterans are not just the 80-year-old World War II veterans or the wounded warriors. They are also the motorcycle organizations from Vietnam, the aging Korean veteran and the 23-year old with a young family and going to school on the GI Bill. They deserve just as much thanks as the previous generation of veterans."

To help with that goal, the band plans on highlighting someone from every conflict since World War II. They also hope that when the audience leaves their show, they will take something away.

"Music is a very powerful tool; it is very emotional, uplifting and inspirational," Pranter said. "It is a way to draw attention to those serving all across the world and get people to think though out our performance about those who are giving their all for their country, especially those who are away from their families. They are serving away from home."

"I hope people leave feeling reminded of the sacrifices men and women have made and have a deeper understanding of where the military fits in today's world and humanitarian role we have," Rider added. "I also hope they have a better idea of how many people are here as a part of Joint Base San Antonio."

The free performance is open to the public, but tickets are encouraged to ensure entry. As of Nov. 3, all tickets have been handed out. Seating will open at 6 p.m. for ticket holders and at 6:45 p.m. for non-ticket holders.

The next Band of the West concert their annual show, Holiday in Blue. Open to the public, the concert takes place Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Edgewood Theatre for the Performing Arts at San Antonio. Tickets are available at http://usafbandofthewest.eventbrite.com.