Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Academy Band completes Independence Day tour featuring Native American performers

Senior Airman Jennifer Nelson

U.S. Air Force Academy Band

PETERSON AFB, Colo. — The U.S. Air Force Academy Band completed a seven-day concert band tour through Wyoming and South Dakota celebrating Independence Day. In conjunction with U.S. Air Force Academy admissions staff, the band performed to inspire patriotism and inform prospective students about the opportunities at the Air Force Academy.

The 50-piece concert band featured a diverse program. Stirring marches and patriotic tunes, classic American jazz, country, and popular music were spotlighted. An integral aspect of the Academy Band mission is paying tribute to veterans. All services are recognized, often with an outpouring of emotion from the audience.

“Many audience members came up to me with tears in their eyes,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gail Tucker. “They were eager to share their own service stories or remember family members who had served.”

The Academy Band was honored to perform at the Crazy Horse Memorial and at Mount Rushmore. The band was joined onstage at the Crazy Horse Memorial by Native American flutist Sequoia Crosswhite, who played traditional Native American music.

At Mount Rushmore, the band was joined by Darrell Redcloud of the Lakota tribe. Redcloud, a fifth generation descendant of Lakota Chief Redcloud, performed the Lakota Flag Song.

“The most memorable part of the tour was at the close of the Mount Rushmore program,” said Tech. Sgt. Sarah Stewart, tour manager. “The beautiful Lakota Flag Song followed by our National Anthem played at such an historic monument was an incredible way to celebrate Independence Day.”

The Academy Band tour was part of an Academy Admissions initiative to reach prospective cadets from the Black Hills region.

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