MILFORD, Mass. –The Air National Guard Band of the Northeast’s recent summer concert tour was a tremendous success. Under the musical direction of Senior Master Sgt. Bill Drury, the unit was well-received during its nine performances in Massachusetts and Connecticut starting July 2, 2009.
The nine-city tour began with an indoor performance by Sounds in Blue, the unit’s concert band, in the Roxy Theatre on the Massachusetts Military Reservation. Next, the band dodged raindrops and performed to a near-capacity indoor crowd in Eastham, Mass.
The concert band’s program this year featured Charles Ives’ boisterous Country Band March; the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto featuring principal clarinetist Staff Sgt. Michele Spinelli; pieces featuring vocalists Master Sgt. Tony Cyrus, Staff Sgt. Ruth Petkaitis, Staff Sgt. Jody Langellotti and Staff Sgt. Jamie Hibbert; and a host of patriotic selections.
Independence Day saw the unit perform double duty. Drum Major Matt Makara led the band in a stirring morning parade through Buzzard’s Bay. Later that evening, Sounds in Blue performed for nearly 30,000 people in Pilgrim Memorial Park in historic Plymouth, Mass. prior to the annual fireworks display. The performance proved to be a memorable one as retiring Plymouth High School Band Director Jonathan Porter, father of the unit’s tubist, and Adam Porter, conducted the band in the premiere of Them Bones, a march composed by clarinetist Staff Sgt. Joseph LaRosa.
July 5 saw the unit travel to Patton Park in Hamilton, Mass., where the unit’s 16-piece Jazz Ambassadors ensemble under the direction of Tech. Sgt. Erik Fecke, opened the program. The concert band then concluded the performance for an audience that included members of the late General George Patton’s family. “My father was decorated by General Patton during World War II,” said Master Sgt. Elaine D’Allesandro. “It was very exciting for me to meet members of his family,” the French horn player added.
The band then traveled south to Connecticut for performances in Norwalk and Brookfield sandwiched around an evening performance in Boston’s Seaport District in conjunction with Sailfest Boston.
The tour concluded with Sounds in Blue performing July 11 in Gardner, Mass., the hometown of long time band member Tech. Sgt. Ed Stromski. The crowd’s roaring applause was a perfect end to a successful summer concert tour. The performance also marked the final summer tour for pianist Staff Sgt. Raul Santiago of New York City who will be retiring from the unit shortly.
The Air National Guard Band of the Northeast is a 100% traditional Guard unit located at Joint Force Headquarters in Milford, Mass. The band’s area of responsibility includes all of New England and New York. The members of the band are professional Air National Guard musicians working in support of U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard recruiting and community relations objectives. For more information, visit the band’s website, www.bandofthenortheast.ang.af.mil.