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Band of the Golden West visits southern New Mexico

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Donald Hatheway
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West’s ensemble Mobility, from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., performed at Plaza de Las Cruces on May 10.

The group plays upwards of 60 concerts each year to over 600,000 people across the western United States--one of them being right here in southern New Mexico.

Approximately 70 miles from Holloman, Mobility joined the Onate High School Wind Ensemble and Orchestra to put on a free two-hour concert.

“We got to spend a lot of time working with a lot of talented musicians,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Benton, U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West non-commissioned officer in-charge. “We not only got to perform for a student body but put on a show with them too.”

Both the ensemble and high school spent months preparing for the concert in the plaza.

“The students are so talented and have such great attitudes; you can see they have big dreams,” said Senior Airman Salina Boodoosingh, a Band of the Golden West vocalist. “It was awesome working with the kids.”

Over 100 community members, guests, families, active duty military members and veterans came out to support the concert, but for some, this may have been their first interaction with the military.

“We meet a lot of people who don’t know anything about the military,” said Benton. “This gives us an opportunity to tell people about the Air Force’s mission.”

For others, this concert re-energized fond memories of the military.

“In every community we visit, veterans young or old will come up, shake our hands and say, ‘thank you for recognizing me- it was really meaningful to me,’” said Benton. “It is awesome that we get to honor them too.”

For the musical artists, the open venue was a way to bring people from all walks of life together.

“Music reaches everybody, and it opens doors,” said Larry Hill, a retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. “We are in the public square, and it was a great way to see Air Force professionalism on display.”