JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. --
The month of June signaled the commemoration and celebration of international music, and the poignant connections that are created by international musical collaborations. The United States Air Force Band’s premier jazz ensemble, the Airmen of Note, observed this celebration by collaborating with military bands from six different nations across the globe in a moving international video project entitled, “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
However, in this day and age of COVID-19, the video contains an additional significant message. Senior Master Sgt. Brian McDonald, the Superintendent of the Airmen of Note, explains, “We wanted to form an international jazz ensemble to highlight our solidarity in response to the worldwide pandemic. We reached across the world to our coalition partners to gauge interest and availability for the project. Then, we recorded a video of the song, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which was a significant anthem for the World War II generation, when loved ones and families were separated from each other around the globe. Now that we are all separated from each other through social distancing during the pandemic, we felt it was the perfect song to remind us that we will all be together again soon.”
Military jazz ensembles from the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Finland and Australia participated in the project with The Airmen of Note. The video’s message of hope went viral on social media, generating over one million views, and was featured on segments on CNN and MSNBC.
Wolf Blitzer, CNN News Anchor and Host, stated that the video was “a beautiful moment serving as a reminder that we are all in this together.”
The video’s positive and powerful message could not have come at a more appropriate time for many, especially our country’s jazz educators, most of whom have not instructed for months on end. One teacher commented, “This brightened my day, and brought a few tears at the same time thinking about all my jazz band kiddos.”
One FaceBook fan after viewing the video stated, “Now if this doesn’t make you want to put the pettiness of daily life we have sometimes down, and just be human and friends across the globe in this crisis, nothing will! What better vehicle than jazz, especially from the World War II era? None, I say. This was just what I needed to see and hear. Thank you to all of you!”
For The Airmen of Note and the six other international ensembles, the video collaboration bridged cultural differences, forged meaningful friendships, and created the possibility of future projects.
Members of the Finnish Air Force Band stated, “Thank you very much to the spectacular United States Air Force Airmen of Note! We were greatly honored to join with you in this global, and we are looking forward to combining our forces here in Finland!”
Members of the Brazilian Military Jazz Ensemble commented on the profound impact this project had to worldwide viewers. They state, “Bravo! We’re military, but we’re people, the same as you. We live together in the same world. Think about it. Peace on Earth!”
To view “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and other videos of The United States Air Force Band, please click here