by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs
7/11/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- In late May, Air Force Band of the Pacific members packed their bags and said farewell to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The Band of the Pacific provided musical support from their rock, jazz
and ceremonial orchestra groups to civilians and military members on and
off JBER for many events, such as memorial services and seasonal
Gen. Norton Schwartz, former Air Force chief of staff, made a decision to downsize the Air Force by 10,000 Airmen.
"This detachment's deactivation was a part of that decision," said
Senior Master Sgt. Gail Tucker, band manager and detachment chief.
The Band of the Pacific has been around since 1941, when the U.S. Army
Air Corps needed an orchestra. The band performed for more than 70 years
as JBER's only band.
"The band is so vital to events that have happened in Alaska," said Air
Force Master Sgt. Mike Williams, noncommissioned officer in charge of
the rock band.
The band members said that live musical support for events gives a
different atmosphere for many individuals and brings out the emotion of
the event. The band and its former members will always be a part of
JBER's history, they said.
"The band here is really unique and we get to represent the Air Force in
many ways that are not necessarily done the same as other locations,"
said Air Force Master Sgt. John Ryder, band director of operations.
The band played at many events including their "Sounds of the Season"
concert, which was held every year in December. Some events they
supported were for promotion ceremonies and change-of-command
Band members said without support from the band, many of the events will
never be the same. They said people want that tempo, which only comes
from live music and the atmosphere of watching an orchestra play.
"It provides an energy that a prerecorded show will never compare to," Williams said.
Fourteen band members moved to the Lower 48 at the end of May and early
June. The bases are adding more members to accommodate the Alaska band.
The band played its final concert In December 2012, but they still performed through the end of May 2013.