An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Spacer Module - Do not delete




U.S., Latvian military bands to unite for independence and NATO milestone celebrations

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and Latvian National Guard bands will join forces for two unique concerts on May 4 in Rēzekne and May 5 in Jēkabpils. Under the baton of two distinguished conductors, Major Andis Karelis and Captain Brian O’Donnell, audiences will enjoy classical standards and beloved hits from both American and Latvian stages.

The concerts celebrate the 34th anniversary of the restoration of Latvian independence, NATO’s 75th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of Latvia’s membership in this alliance. The meaningful collaboration between the USAFE Band and the Latvian National Guard Band evokes the determination each country shares in safeguarding freedom and heritage as well as the preservation of peace and security.

Music Connects Us 

This collaborative endeavor marks yet another milestone in the enduring friendship between the U.S. and Latvia. "We will once again unite in celebration of the enduring friendship between our nations," remarks Captain O’Donnell, the Associate Conductor of the U.S. band. "Our seamless musical collaboration not only showcases our shared values but also underscores the collective strength of NATO Allies."

Strong and Strategic Relationships 

The "Stronger Together" tour exemplifies the commitment of the U.S. Department of State, USAFE, and the U.S. Embassy in Riga to deepen bilateral relations through cultural exchanges and artistic initiatives, a reminder of the depth of our relations and how we can achieve more together. "The U.S. and Latvia are strategic partners, friends, and Allies, committed to building the next century of our partnership,” emphasizes U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Christopher Robinson. ”As we celebrate 20 years of being NATO Allies together, as well as the 75th anniversary of the Alliance, we are committed to preserving our mutual commitment, support, and trust.” 

People to People 

"Music’s ability to transcend linguistic and cultural barriers highlights its universal power. Our joint performances are emotions, and emotions build relationships and strengthen unity among people," says Maj Karelis, Conductor of the Latvian National Guard Band. "By showcasing the rich cultural heritage and exceptional talent of both bands, we demonstrate the power of music to bridge divides and strengthen partnerships in pursuit of global peace and prosperity."