2008-08-09 / Top News

Air Force Quintet To Perform on Island

By Caitlyn Kienitz

The United States Air Force Mid-America Woodwind Quintet will visit Mackinac Island for two performances this week as part of its ongoing tour. The group, part of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, August 10, at Mission Church and at 3 p.m. Monday, August 11, at Windermere Point.

The U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America dates to 1942 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, when it represented the Military Air Transport Service. The band has relocated to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and represented the Military Airlift Command. Currently, the band represents Air Mobility Command. The mission of the group is to support the Air Force by supporting troop morale, recruiting, and community relations.

The Band of Mid-America has performed for Pope John Paul II, the queen of the Netherlands, President William Clinton, and Vice President Albert Gore. The band's travels have taken it worldwide to perform in front of more than one million people each year.

While the band consists of 60 full-time musicians, the members of the band often split into smaller performing groups for different events. The woodwind quintet consists of Master Sergeant Jodi Pratt of Perkins, Oklahoma, on flute, Senior Airman Justin Hummer of Boise, Idaho, on oboe, Staff Sergeant Shannon Dooley of Fayetteville, Georgia, on clarinet, Technical Sergeant Peter Hensel of Mindoro, Wisconsin, on French horn, and Master Sergeant David Metzger of Salina, Kansas, on bassoon.

Their library includes marches and patriotic songs, as well as works ranging from renaissance to contemporary styles. They typically perform in smaller settings than the full band, often providing music for small military retirements, changes of command, holiday caroling for military and civilian employees, and other military functions. In addition, they offer clinics, concerts, and master classes to young music students, giving them an opportunity to work with and talk to professional musicians.

The group, which has not performed on the Island before, was invited to do so by the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. Each year, the tourism bureau contacts all military bands to find out if they'll be in the area.

"Every year we have a different branch of the service," said Tourism Bureau Director Mary Slevin. "We're really looking forward to having them here."

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