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Faithful to a Proud Heritage: USAF Heritage Brass ensemble performs for Sumter community

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Erin Dunkleberger
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SUMTER, S.C. - The lights begin to dim as a single trumpet note plays and the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band Heritage Brass ensemble begin their performance. Heritage Brass, a seven-member pioneering symphonic brass and percussion ensemble, started their concert with “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti at Sumter Opera House, Sumter, S.C., Jan. 27, 2024.

Heritage Brass represents Air Force professionals serving across the globe by showcasing the military tradition of precision and excellence. Their core mission can be divided into four main pillars; communication, honor, inspiration and recruitment. These values shape Heritage Brass into a force of entertainment, resiliency and development.

“It is a dream come true to be able to perform music while serving my country,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Wright, Heritage Brass ensemble trombonist. “One of our missions is to honor, inspire, and connect with audiences to show our appreciation of their support of the military and the U.S. Air Force. While on this tour, we will be working with local recruiting squadrons to bring our performances to high schools in South Carolina.”

All while creating a unique way to tell the Air Force story, the Heritage Brass ensemble inspires diverse audiences by displaying the highest level of professionalism, dedication and excellence. Their community and civic outreach performances serve to instill patriotism, build partnerships, enhance the reputation of the U.S. Air Force and the United States, and demonstrate American values to the world.

They also serve as a dynamic element to recruit the next generation of Airmen to serve in the U.S. Air Force by partnering with Air Force Recruiting Service and performing events designed to generate interest and enthusiasm for military service.

“It’s really amazing to get to serve both the military individuals and civilians of this nation,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Eliza Edge, Heritage Brass ensemble hornist. “Oftentimes we perform in communities that aren’t on frequent tour lists for bands, orchestras, or any musical group due to lower population or average economic status, but we go to those places. We play for the veterans living in those typically forgotten areas, high schoolers who are trying to find a way to earn a living outside of the expected family trade or reinforced poverty cycles, and civilians who are truly grateful to enjoy an awesome concert and interact with their Air Force in a way that is approachable and fun.”

Through the universal language of music, the Heritage Brass ensemble communicates U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense priorities, teaching audiences, across the globe, about the U.S. Air Force’s core values; integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. Heritage Brass honors veterans from each branch of service by performing each of the services’ songs during the concert, giving the audience a chance to recognize those who served around them.

“What is special about what we do is that we are able to connect with and inspire a wide variety of people,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Gelman, Heritage Brass ensemble trumpeter. “Whether it be a younger generation uncertain for the future, veterans who paid their dues, or families of people currently serving, we are able to bring people together with a common love of music.”