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BOGW performs at Inauguration Day

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Sarah Johnson
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – Eight musicians from the Band of the Golden West at Travis Air Force Base, California performed at the Inauguration of President Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, Jan. 20 at the Capitol.

The members augmented the U.S. Air Force Band along with other regional bands to provide ceremonial music throughout the event.

“To be part of this ceremonial process is incredible,” said Staff Sgt. Melissa Rocha, BOGW flutist. “You read about it, but the more you’re in this job you gain appreciation for it. You are part of that military customs and courtesies tradition.”

The eight representatives from Travis play various instruments and have experience ranging from six months to 10 years.

Those selected to play at the event were given music to memorize and rehearsals began a week prior to the inauguration.

“We have to sound good, synchronize perfectly,” said Airman 1st Class Lee Jarzembak, BOGW tubist. “If we do really well, that’s a reflection on the Air Force but it’s also an accurate description of what the Air Force has to do to accomplish their mission. We have to work together perfectly in the right place at the right time.”

Despite the prestige of the moment, the group was committed to keeping the same thing at the forefront of their minds they do at every performance: their fellow Airmen missing from the audience.

“We have fun on stage… but whatever we do we’re also constantly reminded of the people who aren’t here to enjoy these kinds of experiences with us,” said Jarzembak. “We get the chance to let people know those people are sacrificing these kinds of experiences because they’re off accomplishing the mission.”

They also remember their friends and colleagues back home – those that don’t get an audience to perform for.

“People that don’t get put on stage… we represent their hard work and their excellence too, not just ours,” said Airman 1st Class Candy Chang, BOGW flutist. “We represent what the Air Force as a whole is doing. It’s really moving to me to be able to represent them because behind the scenes, they’re doing a lot of hard work.”

With this at stake, the band played to a crowd of thousands watching from the National Mall as they witnessed Trump take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address.

“This is a huge moment in history, (and) music makes a real impact in these big historical moments,” said Airmen 1st Class Hilary Zirkle, BOGW clarinetist. “That’s something that I’m proud to be a part of.” 

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