Brianna Ross @itsbriross
On a stage basked in ambient lighting, 50 musicians in Air Force attire performed melodic symphonies for a nearly filled to capacity theater.
On March 13, Las Positas hosted a free concert in the Mertes Center presented by the Concert Band, an ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West.
In addition to patriotic songs, the diverse 50-piece ensemble’s repertoire includes jazz and ragtime classics, as well as themes from hit Broadway shows and classic Hollywood films.
The band members have a wide range of musical interests, which leads to programs that appeal to everyone.
Captain Rafael Toro-Quiñones, commander and conductor of the band, was the host of the evening. In between songs, Toro-Quiñones spoke to the crowd and shared some facts about the band and certain band members.
For one band member in particular, Airman First Class Hilary Zirkle, the evening performance was a very special one. She performed Oscar Navarro’s “Clarinet Concerto No. 1” as a featured clarinet soloist.
Zirkle’s mother, Peggy Zirkle, and her high school clarinet teacher, Dr. Richard Klinedinst flew from Pennsylvania solely to hear the Concert Band perform. As Zirkle performed her clarinet solo, a proud smile spread across Dr. Klinedinst’s face as he watched in astonishment at his former student.
The crowd was impressed with the performance as well. Exclamations of “wow” and a roaring round of applause could be heard as the song concluded.
As a special treat, Toro-Quiñones invited Dr. Klinedinst to join the clarinet section for the remainder of the first half of the show.
Toro-Quiñones mentioned that in addition to touring the western states, the band performs over 250 shows a year, and it’s always nice when “we get to perform in our hometowns for the people we know and love.”
The love and support was evident in the room that night as friends and family members enjoyed incredible symphonies performed by their loved ones.
The band put on an impressive show and the crowd seemed to enjoy every second of it.
Whether performing for a head of state, a hometown crowd or for U.S. troops at home and abroad, the Concert Band reflects the heritage and pride of the nation and the United States Air Force.