A Salute to Veterans from the Brass in Blue


November 3rd, 2012

Omaha, NE – Musicians from the United States Air Force are preparing a Veterans Day tribute.

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On Nov. 11, the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band’s Brass in Blue will perform a Salute to Veterans, a show featuring both patriotic and popular selections. Seven area high school musicians will sit in with the group. The group’s leader, Master Sergeant Ryan Heseltine, said the concert will also feature their vocalist, Sergeant Rebecca Packard. “She’s going to be singing a number of tunes on our program,” Heseltine said. “One of them is an Etta James tune called ‘At Last.’”

Master Sergeant Matthew Dunsmore warms up for an outdoor performance of the Brass in Blue. (Photo courtesy USAF Heartland of America Band)

One selection was composed specifically for this performance. Called the Global Defense March, it was written by University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor, Dr. Eric Richards, a man with ties to military bands. “He has a long history, not only with the military, but in military bands as well,” Heseltine said. “He served 20 years in the Army, he was a trombonist in the Army Field Band as well the Army Jazz Ambassadors.”

The show’s producer, Master Sergeant Matthew Dunsmore, said the band will play music by another veteran of military bands, one who has gone on to win five Academy Awards writing music for films like Jaws and Star Wars.

French hornists Master Sergeant Ryan Heseltine and Airman First Class Alena Zidlicky perform at Sundays on Parade. (Photo courtesy USAF Heartland of America Band)

“Interesting fact about John Williams,” Dunsmore said, “he is an Air Force Band veteran, Washington D.C.”

The Brass in Blue will play Williams’ Summon the Heroes and Hymn to the Fallen. The band will also play music more familiar to younger audiences, including an audience favorite, God Bless the U.S.A.

“Some of the verses in there say that “I’ll proudly stand up next to you” and defend the nation and defend the flag,” Dunsmore said. “Usually when we play that, there’s a point where someone in the audience randomly starts standing up, and before you know it the whole audience is standing.”

“It’s always a really impactful moment,” he said. “We’ve reached people.”

The United States Air Force Heartland of America Band’s Brass in Blue performs its Salute to Veterans on November 11 at 2 pm in the Orpheum Theatre.

For a full schedule of the performance, click here.

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