[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.

Steve Barbone

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  
taxpayer money.

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  
at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.

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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