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NEWS | June 27, 2014

Air National Guard Bands kick off 2014 national summer tour

By Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air National Guard Bands, made up of five regional bands across the country, are packing up their instruments and hitting the road for their 2014 summer tour.

Touring began June 25 and members are scheduled to perform up to 60 shows, sometimes putting on two performances a day in order to maximize community outreach, said Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Matthews, chief of the Air National Guard Bands.

"The whole idea is to tell the story of the Air National Guard," said Matthews, adding that he wants those that attend to know about the Minuteman and get a better understanding of the Air National Guard.

With musicians handpicked by the commander of the band, a variety of musical instruments and music can be expected during any one of their shows—that can include a jazz set, singers or a rock set.

"The concert band will (perform) traditional military music and patriotic music," said Matthews. "Every concert you can expect great American music, great military music and great patriotic music to celebrate Independence Day at this time of year."

Months of preparation for the summer tour builds up a lot of excitement for band members as they prepare for the condensed tour interacting with communities across the nation.

"One of the (best) things about what we do is we actually go (out) into the general public," said Matthews, adding that this gives the audiences a chance to ask questions and shake hands of the band members.

While touring, there are a lot of memories that are made, but one in particular stands out for The Bands’ chief himself.

"The favorite part of touring is the after the concert hand shake time when veterans would come up and just be in tears and thankful and emotionally moved by the whole event," said Matthews.

For more information on the Air National Guard Bands can be found at http://www.bands.af.mil/bands/