Air Force Band and Honor Guard celebrate Fourth of July in NYC

  • Published
  • By 1Lt. Esther Willett
The United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard performed multiple times in New York City to represent the Air Force on the nation's birthday from July 1-5.

The tour included performances for NBC's "Today" show, Fox 5's "Good Day New York," and the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show.

"Our goal is to make people proud of our Air Force and the tradition of our service," said Col. Larry Lang, Air Force Band commander. "These incredible Airmen are so talented, and they represent the excellence of all Airmen."

The band has performed on the "Today" show every Fourth of July since 1998. Although the band members have performed their pieces countless times in front of large audiences, the thrill and the nerves never go away.

"I think the nerves are good. We use them for energy," said Technical Sgt. Mandi Harper, one of the Air Force Singing Sergeants. "If you're not nervous, you'll get too cocky."

The extensive planning and preparation for this trip began more than a year ago.

"Music is a muscle I constantly have to condition," said Master Sgt. Christian Pagnard. "As a trumpet player, the joke is if I take one day off of practice, I know it. If I take two days off, my colleagues know it. And if I take three days off, everybody knows it."

While in New York City, the Singing Sergeants performed the National Anthem and renditions of "God Bless America" at three major league baseball games while the Honor Guard posted the nation's Colors.

"The arrangement of the National Anthem we sang was conceived about a year ago," Lang said. "It took a couple months to write it, rehearse it, and fine tune it to get it to where it is today. It's great because of the environment we are in. The audience is very respectful of the military, and they are applauding and singing their National Anthem."

The band reached an estimated nine million viewers with their performances in New York, according to Master Sgt. Blake Arrington, a clarinetist with the Concert Band, proudly representing the United States Air Force and helping American citizens celebrate their heritage on Independence Day.