HomeMultimediaNewsArticle Display

PRESS PAUSE: A Band’s Mission During a Global Pandemic

ANGBotNE - Ceremonial Band

The ceremonial ensemble of the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast practices outside in a socially-distant block formation during Annual Training amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.


The year 2020 has certainly been a challenging one for everyone, but it creates a special set of challenges when the mission includes interacting with large audiences. As part of the 193 Special Operations Wing’s Public Affairs component, the summer concert series the band performs each year for annual training relies heavily on crowds of spectators in outdoor settings.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 guidelines have grounded the band for the first time.   So, what does a band do when it cannot perform in public?

As Airmen, the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast has answered their Nation’s call and this summer is no exception. While we are usually out touring in public, the band has had to adapt to continue sharing the message of the United States Air Force through virtual performances. Many recording projects are underway both from the 193d Special Operations Wing level Public Affairs team and from the 553d Public Affairs team.  

"While we are familiar with performing we don’t often have the chance to hear ourselves from the audience point-of-view, so video recording projects give us a fresh perspective,” Technical Sergeant Myron Charowsky, a 24-year veteran of the band commented.  “Recording ourselves is fun!  It gives us a chance to work on details because we don’t usually get to hear ourselves like this.”

The Band’s Public Affairs team has risen to this new set of challenges in exemplary fashion. Senior Airman Katherine Tonkin, the band’s Website Manager and Graphic Designer and Senior Airman Kenneth Ayer, the band’s Social Media Representative have created a Spotlight Series to showcase our members.   The Series is a short video compilation of music and information about each of the members of the band, expressing “why” each member joined the Air Force. 

The newest member of the unit, Airman First Class Michael Zech has barely had enough time for introductions before jumping into the role of in-house audio and video engineer.   He has tackled the arduous task of compiling hours of video footage of each ensemble to create a virtual concert in lieu of a live performance. The goal of this project is to share the virtual concert with Veteran’s Hospitals and Centers to share the musical message to those most affected by the shutdown of visitors to their facilities.  

“One thing is certain, we won’t let this downtime change the focus of our mission.  We are musical ambassadors, fostering morale and raising support for our brothers and sisters in arms in all branches of military service,” nine year member of the trumpet section, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Carles remarked.  “Even if that means we record ourselves from our dining room table this year instead of performing in gazebos and band shells across America.   Rest assured we will not falter.  We can adapt and overcome any challenge we face.  We are American Airmen.”

Keep watch for some of our exciting new projects – and as always, if you are interested in more information, potential future performances, or joining our unit, please reach out to any of our members. We would love to meet you!

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.