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    Jewish American Heritage Month: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Highlights USAF Band trombonist

    The 154th National Memorial Day Observance

    Photo By Elizabeth Fraser | The U.S. Air Force Band performs during the 154th National Memorial Day Observance in...... read more read more

    JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, DC, UNITED STATES

    05.31.2022

    Courtesy Story

    Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling

    U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jay Heltzer, a professional bass trombonist with The United States Air Force Band, reflected on his early experiences of faith and music as the installation observed Jewish American Heritage Month. “I was drawn to the low sounds of the cello, particularly Max Burch’s Kol Nidre arrangement [music for the atonement prayer recited on the eve of Yom Kippur]. My school only offered brass, and trombone was the cello’s natural brass counterpart. By high school, I realized [I] could actually have a career doing this.”

    Heltzer also serves as the band’s Section Chief of Historic and Written Content. He combines heritage and mission with his love for music in his versatile performances, and in his multifaceted role as a member of the Air Force’s flagship musical group.

    “Being a member of the Air Force Band means so much more to me than performing cool music,” said Heltzer. “[After basic training], I fell in love with the mission, purpose and history. [One of my most meaningful experiences] was a ceremony in honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day. We held the ceremony without an audience, but people stopped to honor the anthem. It struck me as particularly poignant to be playing the National Anthem with no one present, in honor of the missing soldiers who could not hear us. I don’t think I have ever performed a [non-military] concert with that much emotional impact.

    “What we do in military bands overlaps with a key aspect of Judaism,” Heltzer continued. “In both [contexts], we are representatives of those who came before us. Every Jewish holiday is a reminder of the difficulties we’ve faced as a people, and of our resilience, regardless of the intensity or tradition of our faith. In the Air Force, we also carry on the legacy of those who came before us. And each band member represents each member of the U.S. Air Force.”

    This perspective was echoed by Col. Don Schofield, the Commander and Conductor of The United States Air Force Band on JBAB. "Heltzer's contributions as a musician connects our audiences to the present through performances that tell our Airmen's story. As a unit historian, he enables us all to celebrate our past to inform and look toward a shared future."

    The Air Force represents the breadth of America at its best, and we celebrate the diverse talents, backgrounds and perspectives offered by all our Airmen.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.31.2022
    Date Posted: 05.31.2022 16:29
    Story ID: 421892
    Location: JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, DC, US 

    Web Views: 59
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN