Duke University Wind Symphony visits USAF Band

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Esther Willett
  • Air Force District of Washington
The members of Duke University's Wind Symphony visited the United States Air Force Band today for an immersion in music and Air Force culture.

The students attended educational instruction sessions led by Air Force Band Airmen to further develop mastery of their instruments before watching the full Concert Band and the Singing Sergeants' final rehearsal before their fall tour.

"This is an amazing opportunity to see what it is like to be a professional musician and to serve," said Dr. Verena Mosenbichler, the director of the Duke University Wind Symphony. "The students did not know why there are musicians in the Air Force. They weren't aware of the mission to serve the community."

The tour provided an excellent educational experience to broaden musical and professional horizons as well as the chance to bond together as a group, said Mosenbichler.

Throughout the morning, Air Force Band members shared their musical expertise as well as what it is like to be a professional musician serving in the military.

"This was a great opportunity! If I hadn't been in the Wind Symphony, I never would have visited a military base," said Skye Tracui, a freshman flautist in the Wind Symphony. "It's really interesting to see everyone playing all these delicate instruments in their uniforms."

This trip was especially valuable for the members of the Wind Symphony because many of them focus on other educational endeavors such as pre-med or biomedical engineering, said Steven Bryant, a composer for the Wind Symphony. While a typical music major is very familiar with the world of a professional musician, a number of these students have probably not thought about what it is to be a professional musician, he added.

"They are passionate about making music in their spare time, what little they have," Bryant said. "For them to interact with and see professionals is always eye opening and ear opening to hear how amazing each instrument can sound with a little practice."

Tours like these are mutually beneficial as they provide the Air Force Band an opportunity to get their message out and to recruit new talent, said Senior Master Sgt. Bob Kamholz, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Band.

"As Air Force Band members represent the excellence of all Airmen across the Force, they inspire young people to pursue their passion and to develop their musical talent regardless of how they intend to use it in the future," said Kamholz.

"I hope the students are inspired and motivated to play at the highest level they possible can even though it is a tiny part of their daily lives," Bryant said. "There is great reward in actually pushing yourself to be good at something even if it is not your vocation and your profession."