News: High Altitude shows different perspective
Story by Senior Airman Victoria Greenia
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Va. - The Air National Guard band of the Mid-Atlantic uses contemporary rock music to share the Guard message to the public.
“Music is the universal language of mankind,” penned Henry Wadsworth Longfellow long ago.
The military music group High Altitude counts on that as they travel the Northeast U.S., crooning for service members as well as civilians. The band is a small component of their Pennsylvania unit which is composed of 38 Air Guardsmen. Saturday’s performance was part of a special larger program to reach out to the northeast of the United States.
When most people think of a military band they think of a traditional marching band outside before a football game, not a group that plays everything from classic rock up to contemporary jazz. High Altitude surprisingly defies that nostalgic image by jamming out tunes from modern bands like Mumford & Sons, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, as well as 80’s one-hit-wonders like Tommy Tutone.
Master Sgt. Lori McCarty from Mareitta, Pa., has been a member of the band unit for 13 years. She said as well as being a morale-booster for airmen, its main goal is to present the message of the Air National Guard in a fun way. Within the relaxing environs of public parks, civilians will naturally flock towards a free concert, she said. Between songs the band talks to the crowd about being citizen airmen.
“People don’t feel like we’re trying to sell them something,” she said, “so we can share the Air National Guard’s role and missions in a less intimidating way than recruiters. People are really receptive and surprised that the military have jobs allowing creativity.”
In tune with Wadsworth’s statement, the National Guard band will continue to educate Air National Guard bases about their mission. Hopefully bases will become aware if the unusual and powerful tool that can be requested for special events.