HomeMultimediaNewsArticle Display

The Mission Goes On Despite Pandemic

Members of Max Impact, the Concert Band and the Air Force Strings perform on the live virtual Veteran’s Day Concert at the MGM Hotel.

Members of Max Impact, the Concert Band and the Air Force Strings perform on the live virtual Veteran’s Day Concert at the MGM Hotel. Photo by Master Sgt. Grant Langford

Senior Master Sgt. Matt Ascione performs with Max Impact on the special virtual live Veteran’s Day Concert at the MGM Hotel.

Senior Master Sgt. Matt Ascione performs with Max Impact on the special virtual live Veteran’s Day Concert at the MGM Hotel. Photo by Master Sgt. Grant Langford

Country music sensation Chris Janson performs with Max Impact during the live virtual Veteran’s Day concert at the MGM Hotel.

Country music sensation Chris Janson performs with Max Impact during the live virtual Veteran’s Day concert at the MGM Hotel. Photo by Master Sgt. Grant Langford

JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. --

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the members of the U.S. Air Force Band have kept busy fulfilling their mission support duties in order to keep the unit running, performing for funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, and have been also heavily involved in virtual outreach projects and recordings.

Live performances have been impacted by COVID-19, due to safety concerns and the size of some of the larger flights, such as the Concert Band. However, for The U.S. Air Force Band’s premier rock band, Max Impact, their live performance mission has come to life again, recently with their Veteran’s Day performance at the MGM Grand Hotel in Oxon Hill, MD.

The event was hosted by ESPN’s Malika Andrews, and featured Max Impact and select members of the Air Force Strings, Concert Band, Ceremonial Brass and Singing Sergeants, with special guest appearances by country music sensations, Kellie Pickler and Chris Janson.

The musicians of the U.S. Air Force Band were ecstatic to perform live again. Senior Master Sgt. Matt Ascione, guitarist with Max Impact, states, “It felt great to perform live once again with the band! These last eight months have been tough on everyone, and having this live performance was very healing for many of us.”

Technical Sgt. Gabriel Staznik, who is the percussionist for Max Impact, shared the same sentiment.  He explains, “Having this performance opportunity was very motivating during a time when so many live performance opportunities have been taken away from musicians for many months. Starting the moment we opened with the first song, I could feel the energy on stage from the musicians enjoying the experience of a live audience. Nothing replaces the feeling of how live music makes you feel when you connect with people through music.”

Safety protocols were utilized in the creation of the live audience. Tables of three were spaced more than six feet apart, audience members were required to wear masks, and only a select number of audience members were allowed in the performance space.

Other safety protocols were utilized in the preparation and staging of the performance. Sgt. Staznik explains, “Our Music Director, Technical Sgt. Mike Wittrien, did a fantastic job of preparing the band with limited rehearsals. With Chris Janson, we only had one opportunity to run those songs with him before the show. This really showcased the professionalism of the band.”

“Throughout the process and while at the MGM many safety measures were in place including daily temperature checks, distancing, masks, and air purifiers throughout the venue. Many people were working behind the scenes to make this performance a success. A huge thank you and shout out goes to the teams of production, audio engineers, marketing, and leadership of the USAF Band that made the show flawless!” adds Sgt. Staznik. 

There were many memorable moments of this performance that honored our past and present veterans. Sgt. Ascione states, “My favorite part of the performance was the collaborative effort between the Air Force Band and the artists playing with us. Also, Chris Jansen was very complimentary of Max Impact, and he professed his deep respect for all servicemen and women serving around the world.”

However, for Sgt. Ascione, there was a particularly special moment in the performance, one that featured one of his original songs, entitled, “Faded Heroes.”

“It is always humbling to see a song that you have written come to life, and to have someone like Kellie Pickler sing a portion of it. The collaboration was set up by Chief of Production, Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Hoffmann, and Kelly was more than eager to be part of the event. She recorded her part in Nashville, then we matched it up in post-production. It looked and sounded as if we were all playing together, so it was a definitive success!” adds Sgt. Ascione.

A total of 96,000 people tuned in to the virtual live event on FaceBook, and elicited an enormous emotional response from some of its viewers.One viewer stated, “A fitting tribute to our brave veterans, and over-the-top wonderful performances!”

Another viewer commented, “Thanks for your service, and for putting this show on supporting ALL of the military families!”

This special live Veteran’s Day performance can be accessed from YouTube and also The U.S. Air Force Band’s FaceBook Page.

 

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.