The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

U.S. Air Force Band, Did Not Disappoint

by Dessa Rodeffer - Quill Publisher/Owner

Patriotism was alive and well at Knoxville High School Saturday where the US Air Force Mid America Band out of Scott’s Air Force base performed that evening

From the beginning of the National anthem to the end, the hour and 40 minutes flew by and kept everyone in attention mode, enjoying every lively, moving, and patriotic song performed.

Highlighting the event was their special world Premier performance of NORMANDY, 1944 (Upon The Great Crusade).

This moving performance was newly composed in only 4 months time, by their very talented and inspirational Staff Composer and Arranger, Master Sgt. Jeremy S. Martin, a native of Alabama who holds a Master’s in Wind Conducting from the University of Alabama.

He joined the AF in 2000 after teaching middle school and high school bands for several years in Tennessee. He has written extensively for bands nationwide and has been a guest conductor and clinician for high school, college and military bands throughout the U.S.. TSgt Martin’s original works has been published by LudwigMasters, Bandworks Publictions, and Carl Fisher and he's the only person in the world to admit he has played “principal contrabass clarinet.”

NORMANDY, 1944 debuted for its first audiences in this 2024 tour to honor the fight and sacrifices given by US and allied forces 80 years ago on the beaches of Normandy.

It was written as a memorial to all the thousands lost during the largest invasion in history during their fight for peace, independence and freedom.

The concert band was superbly conducted by Commander Major Justin W Lewis with added features of soloist Staff Sergeant Melissa Griffith of Oklahoma who joined the AF in 2017 featuring Something’s Coming from West Side Story and Losing My Mind from Follies. She later sang, The New Colossus, a sonnet written in 1883 by Emma Lazarus – the moving words from the poem were set in 1903 on a bronze plaque at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Also, within the band, Green Piece was lively performed by their jazz ensemble “Shades of Blue” highlighting featured artists on Saxophone and keyboard.

The Armed Services Medley (arranged by Master Sgt. Jeremy Martin) was played honoring veterans of the six branches of service; Army - Marines - Navy - Space Force - Coast Guard - Air Force.

After a standing ovation members played as an encore of the lively “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America out of Scott's Air Force Base, Illinois, were on tour last week giving their free "Liberty For All" concerts at O'Fallon High School, Bloomington, Washington, and ending at the beautiful auditoriium at Knoxville High School Saturday evening. -USAF photo