Writer Scott Stewart
As Independence Day approaches, the Heartland of America Band will perform several shows around the metro area to celebrate the history behind the US Air Force’s 75th anniversary.
“They’re going to parallel the growth of the Air Force with the spirit of America and our history over the past 75 years,” Master Sgt. Ryan Heseltine, the NCO in charge of the group.
Free and family concerts “Sounds of Freedom” will take place:
• Sunday June 26, Davies Amphitheater in Glenwood
• Tuesday 28 June, SumTur Amphitheater at Papillion
• Wednesday June 29, Bayliss Park at Council Bluffs
• Friday, June 1, Rockbrook Village shopping center in Omaha
All shows start at 7 p.m. and should last just over an hour.
Heseltine said the shows will feature the band’s biggest performing lineup, combining his rock band and brass quintet. Audiences will hear rock ‘n’ roll, country, jazz, American classical and popular music from the 1940s through today.
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“We’re going to start with music that goes back to the early days of the Air Force with the music of Glenn Miller, who was an Air Force officer who sort of reinvented military music in his time,” Heseltine said. . “We’ll dive into things like jazz, then we’ll go through the 50s and 60s eras, heading into Korea and Vietnam, and then 60s and 70s music. We’ll also touch on a bit of different styles of music which are unique, with country music and some of our biggest inspirations that we’ve reimagined as well, there’s actually a bit of a Beatles homage to it.
The show even includes a bit of disco as it marches in contemporary popular music, as well as traditional patriotic selections, during which veterans and service members will be honored. A narrator will guide the audience through the story accompanying the selections.
“It feels very fluid in a way, like a story being told,” Heseltine said. “We just give as much music as we can and paint pictures for people too.”
Heseltine serves as the program’s executive producer of sorts, and the musicians all have a role to play in the logistics and editing of the show. He said they aim to appeal to everyone who comes to the shows, regardless of age or background.
“Our program will have something for everyone and people will be proud of America and their Air Force when the program ends,” Heseltine said. “We certainly look forward to seeing them and even having the chance to meet them afterwards.”