Max Impact performs at Florida country music festival
By Technical Sgt. Nalani Quintello, The United States Air Force Band
/ Published June 24, 2019
JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. --
Thousands of country music fans attended the annual Suwannee River Jam, the South’s country music and camping festival in Live Oak, Florida, May 1-9, and the premier rock band of the U.S. Air Force was thrilled to be there as well. Max Impact shared the stage with country music legend Hank Williams Jr. and “Redneck Woman” singer Gretchen Wilson.
Max Impact’s energetic country music set on the main stage was part of the stellar Armed Forces Tribute, recognizing the many sacrifices that service members make daily for their country. As part of their set, Max Impact performed two of their most popular original songs from their latest self-titled album released just last year, “American Airman” and “This Flag,” which seemed to excite an already lively audience.
Although originally from Orange Park, Florida, Max Impact vocalist Technical Sgt. Nalani Quintello is very much a part of the Spirit of the Suwannee family, and felt right at home at the Suwannee River Jam. She has been singing at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) for years.
Prior to joining the military, Quintello represented the SOSMP and Florida for the Texaco Country Showdown in the Southeastern finals and played the Suwannee River Jam numerous times on the First Street Music Stage.
“Returning to the music park was like taking a ride down memory lane,” Quintello shares. “As I watched the next generation of local talent perform, I remembered when I was only 13 years old singing at the music park. It was a blessing to be invited back to perform as an Airman, honoring our nation’s heroes. Another surreal moment for me was sharing the same stage as Gretchen Wilson and Hank Williams Jr.”
Also in the lineup at the Suwannee River Jam was Uncle Cracker, who inspired Quintello’s earlier singing years.
“I grew listening to various genres, but country music has always held a special place in my heart. The first tune I ever sang in front of an audience was “Follow Me” by Uncle Cracker, which was the song that started it all. Ever since that performance, I fell in love with performing on stage.”
That experience sparked a desire in Quintello to find a way to sing for a living, which eventually led her to an opening in the Air Force Band.
“My passion for music and love for my country later led me to join Max Impact, which has allowed me to connect with so many millions of people while representing Air Force Airmen who are serving around the globe.”
After their performance, Max Impact had a chance to meet several veterans in the audience. Musical director and keyboardist Master Sgt. Jonathan McPherson thought the audience was a perfect fit for the band.
“Country music fans are some of the most patriotic people in America,” McPherson points out. “There’s no greater sense of pride when “God Bless the USA” is played and everyone in the audience stands while confidently singing the words. There were also numerous veterans in the audience, and we were able to honor them with a musical tribute performance.”
Among the many veterans was Mr. John Brown, a 92-year old World War II vet who proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps, 4th Division. Meeting veterans like this is a real highlight for Sgt. McPherson.
“Connecting with some of our nation’s finest heroes and listening to their amazing stories is one of my favorite parts about serving in the Air Force,” he said.
Currently there is one position vacant in the band. Max Impact is seeking a male vocalist with strong and versatile music capabilities. The starting salary is $61,557-$67,461 plus full military benefits for member and dependents, 30 days annual vacation, and Post 9-11 GI Bill for college up to $80,000. For more information about this life-changing opportunity, please visit https://www.music.af.mil/Auditions/Upcoming-Vacancies/.
Max Impact is currently performing throughout the National Capitol Region and surrounding areas as part of the 2019 Summer Concert Series. They will perform a variety of pop, country, rock, and patriotic favorites. Be sure to keep up with the official rock band of the U.S. Air Force on social media, and follow their schedule to see if they will be at a location near you. Concerts are free, family friendly, and open to the public. All you need is a lawn chair and willingness to have a good time!