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Resiliency through Music: 2021 Summer Tour

  • Published
  • By SrA Stacey Chou

The Air National Guard Band of the Northeast has just completed their first full Annual Tour in over a year, with most of last year’s missions being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying local in their home state of Pennsylvania, the Ceremonial Band, High Altitude popular music ensemble, Flightline Brass Band, In Flight Wind Quintet, and Brass in Blue Brass Quintet performed a whopping twelve full concert performances, including a nationally televised feature at the Philadelphia Phillies baseball game on July 4, 2021, with 26,000 fans in attendance. View the Band’s vocalists’ a capella rendition of “God Bless America” here.

One major distinction between previous summer tours and the 2021 tour was the highlight on the small ensembles. This departed from the usual heavy emphasis on the Concert Band, with the small ensembles serving more as filler roles during each concert. In contrast, the small ensembles were specially highlighted during the joint concerts this year, with each group’s performance lasting the same duration as the Ceremonial Band’s performance. Each small ensemble also had the opportunity to perform several full concerts of their own throughout the tour.

Over the course of the last year, the Band of the Northeast had experienced many apparent setbacks due to the pandemic: Drills were held virtually, two weekends were dedicated per month for drill in order to allow for social distancing, all performances were canceled, and rehearsals were limited in space and personnel. However, the Band did not skip a single beat, and they quickly adapted by recording virtual performances, creating spotlight reels of each member of the band, and sending positive messages over social media, all in order to maintain the close connection with their communities even from afar.

As the Band begins to return to normal operations, the previous year’s challenges only build a stronger resolve for creatively connecting to the public in meaningful and personal ways. This has been directly manifested in a successful summer tour this year. However, not only was the Band able to simply play for live audiences again, the audience members themselves were inspired by the message of hope, strength, and perseverance the Band conveyed in each mission, as evidenced by the veteran who attended a concert at his own living center, as well as one an hour away!

So look out - the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast is back in full force, no holds barred! Making music across the entire northeastern United States, they are ready to engage audiences of all kinds in even more new and innovative ways.