[Dixielandjazz] For Airmen of Note fans in the USA
Stephen G Barbone
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 7 11:37:44 PDT 2010
The below letter is self explanatory. If you do not agree with the new
rotation policy of senior musicians into this jazz band, please write
to your congressmen. The letter was sent out May 26, 2010.
Dear Friend of the Airmen of Note:
A situation has risen which calls for immediate action for everyone
who is a friend of the Airman of Note, be they alumni, music
educators, members of the media, or fans of this American jazz
The US Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton A. Schwartz, in a
recent memo has ordered the rotation of Air Force Band Senior Master
Sergeants and Chief Master Sergeants to and from the Washington DC
band and regional bands in the continental United States.
When this order comes to fruition, it means that approximately 1/3 of
Airmen of Note members would be subject to eventual removal from the
band and their transfer to regional bands, with regional band members
coming to Washington DC in their place.
This scenario has dire implications for the continued musical level of
the "Note". While regional band Senior and Chief Master Sergeants are
capable musicians to be certain, none of them have passed the scrutiny
of the audition process that is required for entry into the Airman of
Note; indeed, many of them are not primarily jazz musicians.
Additionally, the prospect of uprooting their families from regional
bands to Washington DC is viewed with dread by career field Senior and
Chief Master Sergeants. And to ass insult to injury, this program will
cause unnecessary and significant additional budgetary expenditures of
The Air Force Musicians Association believes that the Chief of Staff
has failed to grasp the inherent relative differences in Senior and
Chief Master Sergeants in the Washington DC and regional bands and is
employing doctrinaire "one size fits all" thinking that is utilized in
other Air Force career fields.
The Airmen of Note have worked hard to elevate its profile in the jazz
world, and with accomplishments such as Jazz Heritage Series
broadcasts and the recent "Cool Yule" holiday CD (which achieved the
position on civilian jazz charts as the second most played recording
in the country in early 2010!) they have certainly succeeded in
achieving the recognition for being the quality band that you have
known about for years.
These accomplishments are apparently not significant enough to deter
the Air Force Chief of Staff from the grave course of action he has
However, there is hope. As with the rest of the US Air Force Band, the
Airmen of Note is a primary instrument of community relations for the
Air Force. And you, as a member of that public, deserve to have a say
in any attack on this precious cultural institution.
So we ask you to take action now. A firm signal that the public will
not stand from the diminishment of Air Force bands can deter the Air
Force from this disastrous policy. It is not too late for you to write
the Air Force and elected officials to demand that this measure be
stopped immediately. You can find the name of your local congressmen
Please help us ensure that AF Bands in general and the Airmen of Note
in particular remain strong and vibrant representatives of the United
State Air Force.
Kenneth B. Schinstine, President
Air Force Musicians Association
P.O. Box 7723
Colorado Springs, CO 80933
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