Band of Mid-America performs in Wabash

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ben Mota
  • 434th ARW public affairs

Music has often been used to bring people together and such was the case when an Air Force band performed in the local community.

The U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble performed at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Indiana during a free concert for the public Sept. 10.

“I want to personally thank all of you who attended this evening,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander, to a full theater. “Your support of Grissom and our Airmen in the local community has been fantastic, and this is our opportunity to give back to you.”

Each year, the Band of Mid-America performs for millions of people throughout a ten-state region from the upper peninsula of Michigan to Arkansas. The unit strives to inspire the hearts and minds of our men and women serving around the world and to tell the Air Force story through the universal language of music.

“Our performances help both Air Mobility Command and the local wings to build partnerships with the communities and strengthen ties with local civic leaders,” said Chief Master Sgt. Dan Kenemore, Band of Mid-America chief enlisted manager. “They also help educate the community by providing a better understanding of what their Airmen are doing to keep them safe.”

Over the years Air Force Bands have been getting smaller and smaller, but this performance was unique because of a partnership with another Air Force band.

“This performance was special because we partnered with the Air Force Band of Flight to bring back the full ‘big band’, said Kenemore. “On this particular tour we also performed at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio to honor that musical heritage.”

That rich heritage and ‘big band’ vibe was enjoyed by people from multiple counties across Indiana.  One former Air Force couple, Mike and Peggy Reese, traveled from Warsaw, Indiana to see the performance after hearing about it on social media.

“The band was terrific,” said Michael, an Air Force veteran who himself used to perform in the Air Force Band. “I had forgoten how much I loved the horns. They really did an amazing job.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Men and women from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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