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The U.S. Air Force Falconaires jazz band concert at the Bicknell Wednesday, Oct. 9. The jazz band played American heritage music of the 20s and popular jazz music. Diego Oliva

Air Force Falconaires host jazz concert

Military concert bands and jazz ensembles come through the Bicknell Center routinely and the Air Force Academy Falconaires were the next in line. 

The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts hosted the Air Force Academy Falconaires, the Air Force’s top jazz ensemble, on Oct. 9. The ensemble performed jazz standards such as “Mood Indigo” and “Stardust,” as well as jazz arrangements of popular music such as “Creep” by Radiohead and “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz,” as well an original work by Falconaire pianist Adam Ohlson. The ensemble consisted of veterans serving in the U.S. Air Force on various instruments including clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, keyboard, bass, drums, and also featured a vocalist singing. 

“It’s just so great to be here in a musically supportive community,” said Master Sergeant Julie Bradley, the singer for the Falconaires. “We love performing, but there’s just something special here in Pittsburg.” 

Bradley is a native of Kansas and said it was great to return to her home state to give a concert. 

“I’m from Wichita, actually,” Bradley said. “I went to Wichita North High School, went to Wichita State for both my undergrad and master’s… I’m a Kansas girl through and through… The others give me crap about it too, but I don’t care… I think Kansas is a great place to live; a very nice place to do what you love.” 

Before their concert, the Falconaires sent a handful of advancers to inspect the Bicknell Center and it’s performance space and sound equipment. According to Bicknell Center technical and client services coordinator Jon Eastman, the advancers had nothing but great things to say about the Bicknell Center. 

“I thought they were just stupendous,” Eastman said. “… They were just as professional as any other group that comes through… This was actually their second time coming to the Bicknell Center and the sound guy Janusz told me, ‘Oh yeah, I remember this now.” 

Eastman said that on the day of the concert, the load in for the ensemble was “simple,” because of the professionalism of the group. 

“They’re pretty self-sufficient,” Eastman said. “With most touring groups, they’ll bring their sound board, because that’s what the sound tech is used to, and they’ll use our sound system. When they came, they got to leave all their speakers on the truck… They plugged into our sound system because frankly, it’s a good system to use.” 

Eastman also said that the Falconaires tour performing at the Bicknell Center serves for great advertisement for both the Bicknell Center and for Pittsburg State. 

“The performers that were there absolutely loved the space,” Eastman said. “There’s a pretty quick cycle of players (within the ensemble), and the ones who came back for the second time loved it… They also really enjoyed how supportive the community is in this (music)… Apparently, they have an issue getting the community to come out to concerts elsewhere and they really appreciated the support from the city of Pittsburg.”

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