BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The funky, fun-loving—but still very respectful sound of The United States Air Force Band of Mid-America's "Freedom Winds" will fill The Ritz Civic Center on Monday, July 3 at 7 p.m.
The Arts Council of Mississippi County will host the USAF of Mid-America's "Freedom Winds" at 306 West Main Street in historic downtown Blytheville.
Composed of six Airman Musicians, "Freedom Winds" adds percussion to the traditional woodwind quintet instrumentation to enhance standard literature and increase their musical capabilities. Members of the group have diverse musical interests.
"We go through basic training just like everybody in the military," Master Sgt. James said. "But, we joined the Air Force Band, so we all have a little piece of paper that says, 'I'm going to be in the band when we go to basic training. How you end up in this particular group is determined by who is where at any particular time."
In addition to performing community outreach concerts, the "Freedom Winds" are called on to provide music for military retirements, changes of command, holiday caroling for military and civilian employees and other official military functions. The group also reaches out to America's young music students during concerts, clinics and master classes.
"Well, there's six of us in 'Freedom Winds,'. Master Sgt. James said. "The Band of Mid-America has 60 members in it. Right now, we're broken up into all of our small groups. We've got people all around our ten-state area that we cover. We all, at some point in our careers, took an audition that allowed us to become part of the band."
The group also reaches out to America's young music students during concerts, clinics and master classes. This allows students a unique opportunity to see a professional music group up close and talk to members about music and the United States Air Force.
"We were in Poplar Bluff yesterday. We played at the veteran's facility there," Master Sgt. James said. "That is so special for us when we get to play for our veterans—especially at this time of year. To really drive home and say, 'Thank you for what they did'—because without what they did for us, we couldn't be here today. And before that, we played at the Doniphan celebration out by the lake there kind of on the baseball field there. It was really warm; but very fun."
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