Hanscom, Air Force Band build relationships with local communities

  • Published
  • By Glen Kernusky
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

Col. Taona Enriquez, installation commander, hosted the United States Air Force Band during live performances across New England.  

The free concerts were part of the Air Force Band’s spring tour throughout the northeast.

Enriquez in her role as installation commander at Hanscom Air Force Base, the only active-duty Air Force Base in New England, hosted the Providence, Rhode Island, concert by the Singing Sergeants ensemble on February 18, and performances by the Concert Band in Plaistow, New Hampshire, and Reading, Massachusetts, on March 28 and 29, respectively.

“Music is a great way to tell a story, and what better way to tell the Air Force story than through our amazing Air Force bands,” said Enriquez. “The Air Force needs quality people and these performances help spread the word to those who might be interested in serving. Whether through joining the armed forces, or serving as a civilian with no military service obligations – Hanscom Air Force Base is an incredible community to work in.”

“It’s [the concert] an opportunity to come and talk to some amazingly talented people,” she continued. “The Air Force’s greatest asset is its people, and we have incredible civilians, enlisted, and officers who make our missions happen. Our CEOs at Hanscom are doing incredible work every day.”

Senior Master Sgt. Taylor Armstrong of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was just as enthusiastic.

“I’ve been a member of the band for 18 years and this never gets old,” he said. “I joined after graduate school and went to basic training at the ripe old age of 30. And I was working on my doctorate at College Park, University of Maryland at the time. It’s exciting.”

The concert at Reading Memorial High School was particularly exciting for Master Sgt. Gréta Ásgeirsson, the band’s principal harpist, who graduated from the high school in 2009 and enlisted in the Air Force in 2016.

“It feels good to be home,” she said. “It’s weird because normally home is home and work is work, and rarely do the two collide, but it’s fun that they did tonight. It was exciting to see people in the audience that I know.”

Susan Andrews of Methuen, Mass., was one of those familiar faces.

“I came because I know Gréta,” Andrews said. “The performance was outstanding. It was just wonderful.”

The band performed a total of 11 concerts before returning to their home location in Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

According to the band’s website, the Singing Sergeants and the Concert Band are two of six musical ensembles that form the U.S. Air Force Band.

The Singing Sergeants are the official chorus of the United States Air Force and were originally formed in 1945. These 24 musicians support ceremonial and diplomatic functions, education outreach events, and perform concerts across the nation.

With 52 active-duty musicians, the Concert Band performs a wide variety of music ranging from classical to popular favorites and patriotic selections across the United States at official military and civilian functions, education outreach events, and local concert venues. 

In addition to providing entertainment, Department of Defense bands serve as ambassadors of goodwill, fostering positive relationships between military and civilian communities.

To learn more about military bands, visit the Guide to U.S. Military Bands and Music website on Defense.gov.