Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Air Force Academy Spirit

Jamboree bigger, brighter, better than ever

Hot air balloons on the Terrazzo made for a unique sight. Photo by Ken Carter

Hot air balloons on the Terrazzo made for a unique sight. Photo by Ken Carter

By Academy Spirit Staff


Academy Concerts pulled no punches Wednesday evening by delivering a knock-out 2009 Cadet Jamboree, the biggest in the event’s 14-year history.

Some 80 cadets from the cadet entertainment club and members of the cadet wing helped support with load in, game support and clean-up.

A host of entertainment featured four bands including: the cadet band JELLY JAM & the COSMIC CLAMS; Chris Daniels & the Kings, a fast paced, cover and original band from Denver; RECYCLED PERCUSSION; and, the evening’s headliner, Reel Big Fish. “Cadets have been requesting this group for three years,” said Cultural Arts and Entertainment Director Candyce Thomas. “It’s a great feeling to be able to deliver.”

This was the 10th time the ever-growing event was held on the Terrazzo.

“Prior to the 1996 Cadet Jamboree, there was always a small party held for cadets during what was then called ‘Dead Week.’ It was held in the banquet rooms in Arnold Hall,” Ms. Thomas said. “When I first started doing the Cadet Jamboree then, I quickly recognized there was significant potential for future growth.  We moved the next couple Cadet Jamborees outside to the quad near Arnold Hall. Eventually, I asked permission to hold it on the T-ZO with the thought we’d get the attention of the entire cadet wing … which is exactly how it’s played out. The festivities have grown to where it’s become impossible to use the word ‘dead’ to describe the week anymore.”

Among the cadets sprawling across the Terrazzo the same comment was overheard repeatedly throughout Wednesday evening. “This is a blast having the balloons here and I can’t wait to hear Reel Big Fish,” was the common theme from the Class of 2012 members.

The band line-up required using two stages for the first time ever.  Another new twist included having hot air balloons tethered to lift cadet passengers over the Terrazzo and a ‘balloon glow’ at dusk to end of evening.

“Robert Harrelson, chief executive officer, cadet activities, and his staff are invaluable to this event and went way above and beyond in their support for every request the entertainment office had for them,” Ms. Thomas said.  “I was exploring a new idea for the Jamboree and found that the commercial route was prohibitive monetarily for what I wanted to do.”

Then Ms. Thomas saw an article in the Academy Spirit in October of 2008 relating to what she wanted to accomplish. She contacted Al Lowenstein in New Mexico after reading the article about his son, Cadet 1st Class Ryan Lowenstein, he and his dad are both avid hot-air balloonists.

 “Al jumped right on board, contacted a number of people in his club, and the hot-air balloon idea became reality,” Ms. Thomas said.  “The Lowensteins have helped take the Cadet Jamboree to new heights.”

Many others weighed in as well to make the 2009 Cadet Jamboree the best ever.

Scott Butler with Gravity Play was a huge supporter of the event according to Ms. Thomas, supplying all the game activities.

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