‘Tis a song… – Eglin Air Force Base


The United States Air Force Band of the West performed for a local audience Feb. 3 at the Air Force Armament Museum.

Stationed out of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Freedom Brass is one of several ensembles that make up the USAF Band of the West. The band travels throughout the United States to raise morale and strengthen relationships with communities.

While COVID-19 put the bands on hold for nearly a year, they have since began touring again, explained Airman 1st Class Carter Loud, tuba player.

“COVID presented a very new challenge to the performing world, but we have found ways to get through it,” said Loud. “The fact that we are here right now is a huge privilege to us. We have the opportunity for our smaller groups like this to go tour around.”

Freedom Brass is a brass ensemble made up of two trumpets, a trombone, a tuba, a french horn and percussion. The ensemble plays a range of musical pieces from traditional military marches to original arrangements.

With two mallets in each hand, percussionist Airman 1st Class Austin Pierce soloed two popular songs on the vibraphone, an electric xylophone. Sprinkled throughout the evening, each musician spoke directly to the crowd, sharing stories of their military experiences, musical endeavors and telling jokes.

The band closed the night’s performance with a medley of the armed services’ anthems.

“The talent, technical excellence and superb musicianship displayed last night by those six musicians are a reflection of those same qualities across our entire Air Force,” said Jon Yates, a local music teacher and a former Air Force Band member who was in the audience.

This performance was part of a local tour that ended with a private concert at Bob Hope Village, a military retirement community.