U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band shares the rhythm with Delaware State University

  • Published
  • By Macy Harris
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- The Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble, a component of the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, engaged with students from the Delaware State University on March 31, 2023 for a music clinic and concert. 

The Jazz band teamed up with the university’s step team, iSTEP, to entertain and inspire students with an evening concert.

The student step team opened up the evening program with a choreographed presentation, followed by remarks from Col. Matthew Husemann, commander, 436th Airlift Wing, and the Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble performance. Later in the program, iSTEP joined the jazz ensemble to perform an original composition.

“After the concert, my students were over the moon and excited about their musicianship,” said Dr. Carla Becker, Associate Professor of Music and Music Education at Delaware State University. “They were extremely impressed and I know they waited around to talk to the musicians.”

Other concert attendees included recruiters from the 314th Recruiting Squadron and University of Delaware ROTC members who answered students’ questions about the U.S. Air Force.

“The community was very supportive and the performance was powerful, especially the collaboration with the step team!” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Del Villano, trumpet player for the Heritage of America Band. “The truth is, wherever the band plays, good will usually follow. 

“We hope this is the start of an ongoing collaboration between Dover Air Force Base and Delaware State University.”

Since the band’s performance, Dover Air Force Base has set up base tours and community engagements with the local college to increase public understanding of the Air Force. Delaware State University aviation students visited Dover Air Force Base on April 12 to see a C-5 static. Other tours and engagements are expected throughout the rest of the year.

“While we do not have a formalized partnership with Delaware State University, we do have a symbiotic one,” said Capt. Christina Camp, Public Affairs Officer for the 436th Airlift Wing. “We have spouses who serve as adjunct professors at the school, base leaders who serve as mentors, and we open our base to the students when they want to come. 

“Our base is working on ways to strengthen our partnership with Delaware State University and find more ways to be involved with their students.” 

The partnership between DSU and the Air Force expands beyond the band’s performance, the school’s music department, and tours at the local Air Force base. The event created connections between DSU, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), and the Air Force as part of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s initiative to inspire, engage and recruit more Airmen from underrepresented groups across the United States.

The Air Force reaches these communities through band performances, speaking engagements, school visits, and on and off-base community events.  Diverse groups bring unique perspectives, experiences and ideas to enrich the force.

In a joint signed forward to the 2021 U.S. Air Force Rated Diversity Improvement Strategy, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass, and then acting Air Force Secretary John Roth wrote -- “Maintaining our strategic advantage … requires the agility of a diverse workforce to tackle challenges from different perspectives.” 

Through community engagements like this one, the Air Force further progresses towards achieving a force representative of our Nation, and leveraging that diversity to enhance the Air Force’s ability to deter adversaries and meet tomorrow’s challenges.