Academy Winds, a woodwind ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Academy Band in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will wrap up its Utah tour with a free concert in Moab, at Star Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.
Each year, Academy Winds tours the West to perform community concerts that encompass a variety of music styles. The ensemble also visits schools along the way to tell students about the Air Force Academy and the “world-class education” it offers, said the group’s tour manager Katherine Stites.
A career with the Air Force band is a little-known secret, group leader and flutist Julia Boughton said. Boughton has played with an Air Force band for 17 years, seven of those with Academy Winds in Colorado Springs.
“I love what I do,” said Boughton, an Oberlin Conservatory of Music graduate. “We want people to know that we’re out there supporting our troops, and drumming up support for the Academy. It’s one of the country’s premier undergraduate institutions.”
Band members are all full-time active-duty professional musicians for the Air Force, said Stites, a senior airman, and the ensemble’s oboist. People must audition to play for the band, and most are music school graduates, she said. Stites has been a member for the past three years.
“It’s a very rewarding job; very fulfilling,” she said.
Four of the group’s six members are also vocalists, which makes this ensemble special, Stites added. The other instruments played in the band include clarinet, bassoon and French horn. Additionally, a percussionist performs several different instruments.
The concert will last just over an hour and will include music you might not expect. For example, there will be jazz-influenced pieces, traditional folk and Irish songs, a patriotic set, and the songs “Amazing Grace” and “Seven Bridges Road.”
“There will be all sorts of music, featuring the different members of our group,” Boughton said.
Neither she nor Stites has ever visited Moab before.
“I am so thrilled to be ending our tour in Moab,” Boughton, a master sergeant, said. “I’ve heard about it all my life.”
Academy Winds is one of nine performing ensembles within the Academy Band. According to its website, the ensemble supports the Academy Band’s mission to “advance the U.S. Air Force Academy and Global Air Force Missions by providing professional music products and services for official military, recruiting, and community relations events worldwide.”
“We travel the country, representing the Air Force Academy, (and raising awareness about) the Academy and what it does – you get an unparalleled education there for free; it’s top-notch,” Boughton said.
Some Air Force bands perform overseas in Germany and Japan, as well as in Hawaii.
At the Star Hall concert, the musicians will talk about their jobs at the academy, and will take a moment to honor the heroes and the veterans in the country, Stites said.
Tickets to the free concert are available at Canyonlands Copy Center, 375 S. Main St. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Academy Winds comes to Star Hall on Oct. 11
When: Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.
Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
Information: 719-556-9916; or www.usafacademyband.af.mil