By SSgt Jeremy Carles, ANG Band of the Northeast
/ Published August 12, 2018
In early June, Brass in Blue, the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast’s brass quintet, flew to Lithuania to help commemorate the 25 year partnership between the Pennsylvania National Guard and Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The nine-day trip was the first time members of the Band of the Northeast visited Lithuania, a country of nearly 3 million.
The group performed for several ceremonies which coincided with the conclusion two international military exercises that took place throughout the Baltic region.
During the visit, members of the quintet were able to build relationships with members of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Band, the country’s premier musical ensemble. They marched together in a ceremony to celebrate the partnership between the two countries. The event was attended by Pennsylvania Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli and the commander of the Lithuanian Defense Forces.
“It was incredibly rewarding to collaborate with the members of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Band,” said Tech Sergeant Clay Sattazahn. “It was a tremendous experience and a great opportunity to exchange culture.”
The six member group also had the opportunity to perform two solo concerts in the nearby towns of Trakai and Panevezys. The group’s repertoire of jazz standards, American classics and marches were a hit with the Eastern European crowds.
The State Partnership Program evolved from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to set up the Joint Contact Team Program in the Baltic Region with Reserve component Soldiers and Airmen. A subsequent National Guard Bureau proposal paired U.S. states with three nations in 1993. The Pennsylvania National Guard and Lithuania were one of the first three nations and states to be paired.