Ensemble from Air Force Band entertains in Grand Junction

“A walking, talking commercial for the Air Force” was how MSgt Jennifer James described the mission of the Freedom Winds, an ensemble of the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America.

The walking, talking commercial entertained about 30 persons for more than an hour at the Grand Junction Community Center.

Freedom Winds at the Grand Junction Community Center

Freedom Winds’ instrumentation is an augmented woodwind quintet, with flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn, and a drum set and keyboard added.

Bassoonist Talie Ferree (left) and clarinetist Meghan Yankowskas (playing ukulele) paid tribute to the Lennon Sisters.

The musicians’ versatility was showcased as clarinetist SrA Meghan Yankowskas sang and played the ukulele, and keyboard player TSgt Shawna Kuebler played a euphonium solo and an Irish drum, the bodhran, on a Celtic piece she arranged. For that piece, the horn player, Tst Clay Toms, played an Irish flute and James (the flutist) and bassoonist A1C Talie Ferree both played Irish whistles.

Percussionist was TSgt Jonathan Friedman. Recalled to duty was MSgt (Ret) Dawn Striker-Roberts on oboe. She now teaches oboe at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Saint Louis University.

Their musical selections included patriotic music and other pieces ranging from a George Gershwin swing tune to the Lennon Sisters’ “Tonight You Belong to Me” and Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

The Band of Mid-America is based at Scott Air Force Base near Saint Louis, MO. According to James, the group is on the road about one week of every month.

The Freedom Winds will perform Sunday at 2 pm at the Perry Performing Arts Center.

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