Music soars as Air Force band plays on | SierraSun.com
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Music soars as Air Force band plays on

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

The Tahoe Truckee High School jazz band played to the beat of a different conductor Monday when the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West stopped by to give a free clinic and community concert.

“The band is a unique entity,” said Technical Sgt. Jonathan Ruff, a trumpet player. “We go to basic training just like everybody else, but our job is to provide music at military and political functions.

“If President Bush says he wants a band to play when he hits the ground, if it’s in our area of responsibility, we get the call.”

The Band of the Golden West is from Travis Air Force base near Fairfield, and includes a concert band, jazz band, rock band and other combos that play in five Western states.

“We are a pu-pu platter of music for your listening delight,” Ruff said. “Our audiences come from a really big background and they come to hear us for very different reasons. We have such an interesting draw because we play a variety and a number of musical styles.”

During the clinic Monday, the Truckee High jazz band and Air Force jazz band played for one another, and then the Air Force musicians worked with each student instrument group separately.

“It’s cool because we got to hear the band play instead of just practicing,” said sophomore Allee MacRorie. “We also got to [learn] from someone who is experienced in our instrument, so we get different teachings and ideas.”

Ruff said that he and the other band members are aware of the sensitivity to military presence in a public school, but that they come purely as musicians. Yes, they “plant the seed,” he said, “but the main thrust is that we are here to give them everything we can.”

Students echoed the sentiment. Sophomore Nicole Tanner said she didn’t feel a military presence in the band; instead, “it just felt like jazz.”

“They’re not a very big band, but they are really good,” Tanner said. “And it’s important to get a feel for how other bands play so that you can get better and improve.”


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