On Saturday February 8th, the Heritage Brass, a quintet with percussion ensemble from the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, entertained students, faculty, and guests of Roanoke College in the Olin recital hall. Dr. Blaha from the music department welcomed the group and reminded the audience that these men also serve as soldiers and could be called to serve our country at any time.
The Brass quintet performed a full set, and joked in between songs. Their pieces ranged across genres and cultures. The set opened with a song called “Fire Dance,” and included a nine minute piece, “Ricochet,” an opera “Carmen Fantasy,” a Welsh hymn “Rhosymedre,” a piece by the score director of Twilight entitled “Killer Tango,” jazz numbers “Joy of Spring” and “Caravan”, the familiar Irish ballad “Danny Boy,” and, perhaps an audience favorite, rock number “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Wrapping up the evening, they played the service hymns, Army, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, and Air Force respectively, and closed with the Bugle Call Rag.
Each member of the quintet was featured in a solo at least once. The newest member of the quintet was the percussionist. He played the drums, a tambourine, bells, and the Cajon among other instruments. The other instrumentalists were very encouraging of each other, and often called out support, as well as engaged in a bit of friendly teasing.
The recital hall was an optimal location for their performance. The band and the audience appreciated the intimate setting and good acoustics. The musicians enjoyed seeing and interacting with their audience and bantered back and forth between songs. The recital hall reverberated with the Heritage Brass increase in volume, and the sound filled the space when they reached their loudest.
The Airman-musicians passed out free Christmas CD’s after the performance and greeted audience members personally. They can be found on both Facebook and Twitter by searching USAF Heritage Band. They tour the U.S. playing in various venues with music that is both educational and exciting.