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Capt. Rafael Toro-Quinones, commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., directs the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “There’s No Business Like Show Business” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Toro-Quinones was the former USAF HOAB conductor from 2009 to 20011. The USAF HOAB was one of the original Army Air Corps bands, created by order of the Secretary of War on October 1, 1941 and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In June 1946, after being assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, the band arrived at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, its current home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Capt. Rafael Toro-Quinones, commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., directs the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “There’s No Business Like Show Business” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Toro-Quinones was the former USAF HOAB conductor from 2009 to 20011. The USAF HOAB was one of the original Army Air Corps bands, created by order of the Secretary of War on October 1, 1941 and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In June 1946, after being assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, the band arrived at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, its current home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel, former 564th Tactical Air Command Band director, leads the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “Stars and Stripes Forever” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Gabriel has served in the Air Force from the year it was created, in 1947, to 1985. Throughout his life, he has received three Legions of Merit, been named an Honorary Life Member of the American Bandmasters Association and inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors. In 2008, the US Air Force Band dedicated the Arnald D. Gabriel Hall, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., in his honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel, former 564th Tactical Air Command Band director, leads the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “Stars and Stripes Forever” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Gabriel has served in the Air Force from the year it was created, in 1947, to 1985. Throughout his life, he has received three Legions of Merit, been named an Honorary Life Member of the American Bandmasters Association and inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors. In 2008, the US Air Force Band dedicated the Arnald D. Gabriel Hall, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., in his honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

2nd Lt. Philip Emery, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, speaks during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Since its creation, the band has represented the Air Force at musical and military events. This concert represented the band’s 75 years of heritage since it was first established in 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

2nd Lt. Philip Emory, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, speaks during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Since its creation, the band has represented the Air Force at musical and military events. This concert represented the band’s 75 years of heritage since it was first established in 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Larry H. Lang, former U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band director, shouts out, “Give her the Gun!” during the playing of the Air Force Song during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. In 2005, Lang was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He is also a member of numerous musical associations and is active as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Larry H. Lang, former U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band director, shouts out, “Give her the Gun!” during the playing of the Air Force Song during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. In 2005, Lang was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He is also a member of numerous musical associations and is active as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Senior Airman Melissa Lackore, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band vocalist, sings “At Last” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Prior to joining the Air Force, SrA Lackore taught K-12 vocal music in the Iowa public school system, as well as, High School vocal, instrumental music and music theory in Nebraska Catholic schools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Senior Airman Melissa Lackore, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band vocalist, sings “At Last” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Prior to joining the Air Force, SrA Lackore taught K-12 vocal music in the Iowa public school system, as well as, High School vocal, instrumental music and music theory in Nebraska Catholic schools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Larry H. Lang, former U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band director, conducts during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. In 2005, Lang was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He is also a member of numerous musical associations and is active as a guest conductor throughout the United States and abroad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Larry H. Lang, former U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band director, conducts during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. In 2005, Lang was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He is also a member of numerous musical associations and is active as a guest conductor throughout the United States and abroad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

2nd Lt. Philip Emery, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, conducts during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Since its creation, the band has represented the Air Force at musical and military events. This concert represented the band’s 75 years of heritage since it was first established in 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

2nd Lt. Philip Emory, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, conducts during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Since its creation, the band has represented the Air Force at musical and military events. This concert represented the band’s 75 years of heritage since it was first established in 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Senior Airman Mark Oates, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band trumpet player, plays a solo during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Oates received a Bachelor's of Music degree from James Madison University where he was the second brass player in University history to win the annual concerto competition, and was twice selected as a member of the All-American Band. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Senior Airman Mark Oates, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band trumpet player, plays a solo during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Oates received a Bachelor's of Music degree from James Madison University where he was the second brass player in University history to win the annual concerto competition, and was twice selected as a member of the All-American Band. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Capt. Rafael Toro-Quinones, commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., directs the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “There’s No Business Like Show Business” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Toro-Quinones was the former USAF HOAB conductor from 2009 to 20011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Capt. Rafael Toro-Quinones, commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., directs the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “There’s No Business Like Show Business” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Toro-Quinones was the former USAF HOAB conductor from 2009 to 20011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Capt. Rafael Toro-Quinones, commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., directs the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “There’s No Business Like Show Business” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Toro-Quinones was the former USAF HOAB conductor from 2009 to 20011. The USAF HOAB was one of the original Army Air Corps bands, created by order of the Secretary of War on October 1, 1941 and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In June 1946, after being assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, the band arrived at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, its current home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
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Capt. Rafael Toro-Quinones, commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., directs the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “There’s No Business Like Show Business” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Toro-Quinones was the former USAF HOAB conductor from 2009 to 20011. The USAF HOAB was one of the original Army Air Corps bands, created by order of the Secretary of War on October 1, 1941 and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In June 1946, after being assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, the band arrived at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, its current home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel, former 564th Tactical Air Command Band director, bows to the audience after leads the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “Stars and Stripes Forever” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Gabriel was also a World War II veteran, who landed on the coastlines of Normandy, France, alongside more than 160,000 Allied troops during “D-day” on June 6, 1944. D-day was the largest amphibious attack in U.S. history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
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Col. (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel, former 564th Tactical Air Command Band director, bows to the audience after leads the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “Stars and Stripes Forever” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Gabriel was also a World War II veteran, who landed on the coastlines of Normandy, France, alongside more than 160,000 Allied troops during “D-day” on June 6, 1944. D-day was the largest amphibious attack in U.S. history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Col. (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel, former 564th Tactical Air Command Band director, bows to the audience after leads the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “Stars and Stripes Forever” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Gabriel was also a World War II veteran, who landed on the coastlines of Normandy, France, alongside more than 160,000 Allied troops during “D-day” on June 6, 1944. D-day was the largest amphibious attack in U.S. history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
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Col. (Ret.) Arnald Gabriel, former 564th Tactical Air Command Band director, bows to the audience after leads the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band to play “Stars and Stripes Forever” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. Gabriel was also a World War II veteran, who landed on the coastlines of Normandy, France, alongside more than 160,000 Allied troops during “D-day” on June 6, 1944. D-day was the largest amphibious attack in U.S. history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris, vice commander, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., speaks during a U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. The USAF HOAB was one of the original Army Air Corps bands, created by order of the Secretary of War on October 1, 1941 and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In June 1946, after being assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, the band arrived at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, its current home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
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Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris, vice commander, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., speaks during a U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. The USAF HOAB was one of the original Army Air Corps bands, created by order of the Secretary of War on October 1, 1941 and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In June 1946, after being assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, the band arrived at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, its current home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Members of the 633rd Air Base Wing Honor Guard post the colors during a U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. The 633rd ABW Honor Guard participates in more then 300 events a year including military funeral honors, military ceremonies, and community functions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
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Members of the 633rd Air Base Wing Honor Guard post the colors during a U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. The 633rd ABW Honor Guard participates in more then 300 events a year including military funeral honors, military ceremonies, and community functions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

2nd Lt. Philip Emery, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, guides the audience as they sing “America the Beautiful” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. In addition to the 75th Anniversary of the USAF HOAB, the concert also took place on the one year mark in Emery’s Air Force career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
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2nd Lt. Philip Emory, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, guides the audience as they sing “America the Beautiful” during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. In addition to the 75th Anniversary of the USAF HOAB, the concert also took place on the one year mark in Emery’s Air Force career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

2nd Lt. Philip Emery, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, left, prepares to coin five generations of conductors who have served with the bands at Joint Base Langley-Eustis over the last 70 years during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. For over half a century, the band has represented the Air Force at musical and military events. This concert represents the band’s 75 years of heritage since it was first established in 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)
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2nd Lt. Philip Emory, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band flight commander and associate conductor, left, prepares to coin five generations of conductors who have served with the bands at Joint Base Langley-Eustis over the last 70 years during a USAF HOAB 75th Anniversary Band Concert at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Va., Oct. 1, 2016. For over half a century, the band has represented the Air Force at musical and military events. This concert represents the band’s 75 years of heritage since it was first established in 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- Stevie Wonder once said, “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand,” in a song he produced in 1977, called “Sir Duke.” 

In countries across the globe, the Air Force has used the language of music to boost morale among military members, foster worldwide trust and gain public support through mass appeal. This month marks the 75th anniversary of the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band.

“Since the foundation of our nation, music has been vital in the military,” said Col. Larry Lang, U.S. Air Force Band commander, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C. “Even president Washington understood this with the First Continental Army Band in terms of how important it was for the morale of the troops.”

Along with the feeling of pride and fellowship music can provide, it also puts a face to be remembered on service members when they host live concerts.

“Many Americans never meet a military member in person unless it's a member of the band,” Lang said. “That connection is so essential because less than 1% of our population serves in the military.”

When Airmen and other service members are seen in uniform by the American public, they are not only representing themselves and the units they work for, but they’re also acting as the ambassadors of the U.S. military as a whole.

“Every so often, we might address a population that might be skeptical about what we do in the Air Force,” said Capt. Rafael Toro-Quinones, commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, California. “We're able to bring barriers down through music and throughout our concerts.”

Band conductors use the time between songs to talk to crowds about how service members are people with families who, like their civilian counterparts, also happen to be mothers and fathers who sacrifice time in their life to serve their country, Toro-Quinones added. 

“That connection we have with our audience is so crucial [because] there are those who don't understand what we do,” Lang said. “The [Air Force’s] budget is so tight that it seems like we can't afford music. But I would say, ‘How can you not afford us?’”

Bands are a bargain for their level of expertise, training and unique impact they can have on the public through their music, Lang said.

“There's no one else that brings the American people together like we do and links them in large amounts to the military like we do,” Lang said. 

In Washington D.C., for example, the Air Force Band plays a part in the process when foreign dignitaries and leaders come into the city to negotiate or work on diplomatic solutions to solve problems across the globe, Lang said.

“Music is always a part of those events; it is vital,” Lang explained. “I will keep fighting until the day I die for that.”

When it comes to the role music plays in the mission, the three core pillars of Air Force bands are to honor, connect and inspire.  

“Honor is important to not only in honor of the people who are we are currently serving with but also those who have served before us,” said Lt. Col. (Ret.) Richard A Shelton, who previously served as a conductor for the 564th Air Force Band from 1981 to 1984, before it was renamed to the USAF HOAB in 1995. “Our mission is to connect with the public and our fellow Airmen.”

The inspire pillar comes into play by the level of professionalism the band shows to motivate Airmen to have excellence in all they do, Shelton said.

“Not only do we hope to inspire those serving today, but we also hope to motivate future Air Force and U.S. military prospects,” said 2nd Lt. Philip Emory, USAF HOAB flight commander and associate conductor. “When my little girl and other children see an Air Force band play for the first time, I want them to be inspired by a love for their country and an appreciation for service members that have sacrificed in the past and present. My hope would be to share that music can connect and build relationships in ways that words can't express.”

Whether band Airmen are playing during a concert in the U.S. or overseas, they represent U.S. Armed Forces members across the globe, serving anywhere – anytime.

“We represent the greater good for the greater whole, and we do so with those core values of integrity, service and excellence,” said Col. (Ret.) Lowell E. Graham, former USAF HOAB commander and conductor. “When [spectators] come to our concerts, they will remember those three things. They might not remember what we played, but the audience will know the U.S. Air Force is a well-trained, disciplined and focused organization that represents the core values of the United States.”

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