by Master Sgt. Steven M. Przyzycki
The USAF Academy Band
The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs
All of us in the Air Force Academy Band take pride in our mission as ambassadors for the Air Force. We deliver the Air Force message through the emotional impact of music. Attracting an audience of greater diversity has proven to be a challenge here is great responsibility in our positions as bandsmen.
There is great responsibility in our positions as bandsmen. For many citizens, our appearances are the only connection they have with the Air Force. History has proven that art, particularly music, is the best vehicle to invoke patriotism and win the trust of the people.
The most effective tool that we can implement to increase diversity is location, location, location! We must bring the music to the people and perform in communities rich in diversity. In most cases, these are also Congressional districts from which we strive to attract cadets. At first, this may result in smaller audiences. However, time will prove to attract a larger, more diverse audience and increase our nationwide appeal. Essentially, everyone wins.
“The most effective tool that we can implement to increase diversity is location, location, location!”
As recently as October 2010, we performed in Nogales, Arizona, only one mile from the national border. The concert featured a selection in which students from the local high school sat in and performed with the band. All of these students were Mexican nationals. This was their first and only opportunity to be in contact with airmen. Coincidentally, a retired Tuskegee Airman was in attendance at this concert.
Our rock band, Blue Steel, travels the country performing with youth orchestras, and they have appeared twice at the Harlem’s Children Zone. We will continue to play in the academy’s high interest areas that are rich in cultural multiplicity. Already, cadet nominations have been submitted from some of these communities. How wonderful it is to perform in these new frontiers. We view our goal to increase diversity as a very welcome opportunity: a chance to perform and tell the Air Force story to new, eager listeners. How privileged we are to embark on this endeavor to change the face of our Air Force!
The United States Air Force Academy Band represents the Air Force Academy, the leading educational institution devel- oping and inspiring air and space leaders of character with a vision for tomorrow.
The band, comprised of 56 active-duty Air Force bandsmen, is dedicated to serving our great nation and representing our future leaders being trained at the Academy. For over 50 years, the United States Air Force Academy Band has used the power of music to inspire Air Force personnel and the nation they serve, produce innovative musical programs and products, and communicate Air Force excellence to millions around the world.
This article has been sponsored by:
Communicating Across Cultures
Master Sergeant Steven M. Przyzycki, percussion, hails from Chicago, Illinois. Steve holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Percussion Performance from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. He joined the band in June 1997 and, in addition to performing with the band, he is also the noncommissioned officer in charge of the band’s public affairs shop.