USAF Band kicks off 2017 holiday season

Timpani Player

Master Sgt. Marc D. Dinitz, concert band principle percussionist, plays the timpani during the 2017 U.S. Air Force Band Holiday Flash Mob at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. Audience members watched the Band perform arrangements of holiday staples “Dona Nobis Pacem” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” synced to the Gaylord’s holiday lights and fountain.

Irish Dancers

Dancers from the Broesler School of Irish Dance perform at the 2017 U.S. Air Force Band Holiday flash mob at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. The dancers joined the band during an arrangement of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” synced to the holiday lights and fountain of the Gaylord.

Violins on balcony

Members of the U.S. Air Force Band perform during the 2017 Holiday Flash Mob at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. The performance featured arrangements of holiday staples “Dona Nobis Pacem” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

U.S. Air Force Band brass

Members of the U.S Air Force band perform during the 2017 Holiday Flash Mob at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. The performance, featuring arrangements of “Dona Nobis Pacem” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” kicked off the band’s holiday concert season.

U.S. Air Force Band flash mob

The U.S. Air Force Band participates in a flash mob at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. The annual flash mob kicked off the band’s 2017 Holiday concert season.

Col. Larry Lang speaking

Col. Larry H. Lang, U.S. Air Force Band commander, speaks to the audience of the 2017 Holiday flash mob at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. Since its inception in 2013, the band’s flash mob has become an annual event to kick off the holiday concert series.

Flash mob audience

Audience members of the U.S. Air Force Band's 2017 Flash Mob cheer at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. The audience enjoyed arrangements of “Dona Nobis Pacem” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” synced with the Gaylord’s holiday lights and fountain.

Saxophone player

Tech. Sgt. Mike Cemprola, alto saxophonist, plays during the 2017 U.S. Air Force Band Holiday Flash Mob at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., Nov. 29, 2017. Cemprola was one of approximately 150 11th Operations Group participating in the performance kicking off the band’s holiday concert series.

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md., --

To kick off their holiday concert season, the U.S. Air Force Band surprised visitors at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center atrium in Oxon Hill, Maryland, Nov. 29.

 

The band’s flash mob tradition began in 2013 as a way to advertise for their holiday concert series and has become an event many look forward to trying to find, since the location is not publicly advertised, in order to witness it.

 

“I’ve waited years to see this,” said Fred Alvarado, National Capital Region local, with tears of happiness in his eyes. “I missed the first one by a day and am so proud to have experienced it finally.”

 

Col. Larry H Lang, U.S. Air Force Band commander, let approximately 150 band and honor guard members from the 11th Operations Group in musical arrangements of holiday classics “Dona Nobis Pacem” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  

 

It may seem like an effortless execution to audience members, but it takes months to prepare for the spontaneous performance.

 

The band prepares the musical arrangements months before the actual performance. The music is passed to the band members for a read-through before rehearsals begin to fine-tune the rendition. The fourth and final rehearsal occurs on the day of the event, only hours before the final performance.

 

“I love having a chance to work with all the other performing units,” said Master Sgt. Joe Haughton, tenor vocalist. “Even though we work side by side in the building, it’s rare to see them all perform [together].”

 

The flash mob began when Master Sgt. Benjamin Park, baritone vocalist, began singing on the second floor of the atrium in the Gaylord, and followed with multiple facets of the band joining in until they were working together in harmony.

 

“Getting to participate in this complex musical product and watching its evolution each year has been fascinating and humbling for me,” Park said.

 

About halfway through the performance, dancers from the Boesler Irish School of Dance, synchronizing their movements not only with the music but also with the Gaylord’s holiday lights and fountain, joined the band.

 

“The 2017 Holiday Flash Mob was amazing,” said Col. E. John Teichert, commander of Joint Base Andrews and the 11th Wing. “I was blown away by the creativity and professionalism of the band in a classic display of their soft power. As much as I enjoyed watching the performance, I loved watching the surprise, awe, appreciation and joy on the faces of those who were fortunate enough to see it unfold.”

 

Watch the performance here.

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