Sebastien Rubino / [email protected]
Battle Ground High School will host the United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants on October 24 as part of a special tour celebrating the Air Force’s 75th anniversary.
The band’s bandleader, First Lieutenant Brandon Hults, said he was delighted to visit Battle Ground during one of their stops.
“This is our first full concert band tour,” Hults said. “We did a small tour on the 4th of July, but this is our first full two-week national tour since the start of COVID, so we’re very excited to reconnect with American audiences.”
He said the group represented “Air Force excellence to our national audience,” which follows in the footsteps of their motto “to honor, inspire and connect.”
“Our audience is the American mainstream, so we try to capture a lot of different styles and genres,” Hults said. “We will have everything from standard band literature to orchestral transcriptions. We play Jupiter from Gustav Holst’s Planets.
He said the band always ends their show with patriotic tunes. Although not present at the Battle Ground gig, Hults mentioned that two Royal Australian Air Force executives had attended previous gigs to study the workings and structure of the band. Their guest, the squadron leader, led a few songs, he said.
The band will also play a Swedish and Ukrainian march to celebrate the two countries’ recent NATO bids, Hults said. They also plan to play more popular songs, which will include a medley of tracks from The Greatest Showman movie.
The singing sergeants, which is the official choir of the US Air Force Band, join the orchestra on tours, Hults said.
“(There will be) a bit of Broadway, a bit of international relations and a bit of standard literature and patriotic music,” he said.
Hults said less than 1% of the country was owned by the US military. So the group plans to go to places where people may never have seen a person in uniform before.
“What we offer people is that we have some of the best players in the country who are here in DC, and we hope to represent and champion the excellence that the Air Force represents to the world. … We try to bring that standard of excellence to the public in an accessible way,” Hults said.
He said the group frequently honors deceased veterans and can perform up to four funerals a day. They also honor veterans at the end of their concerts with an armed forces salute, acknowledging the five branches of the military, Hults said.
Hults said the tour will cover cities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho over the course of two weeks.
The concert at Battle Ground will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 24. Battle Ground High School is located at 300 W. Main St.
The event is free, but people can register online at bit.ly/3fVEg96.