The November 2019 issue of Choral Journal features an article titled “The Singing Sergeants of the U.S. Air Force: A Career Path for Singers” by Technical Sgt. Jilian McGreen. You can read it in its entirety online at acda.org/choraljournal. Click “Search Archives” and choose November 2019 from the dropdown menu.
Right now, United States Military musicians are stationed throughout the world, using their musical skills to serve our country. The wide range of ensembles includes rock bands, jazz bands, concerts bands, and, yes, choruses. Choral musicians at every level should know about the opportunities that exist for them in each branch of the U.S. Military. In the U.S. Air Force, this opportunity is called the Singing Sergeants.
The Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the U.S. Air Force, is one of six ensembles under the umbrella of the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. The eighteen-member chorus has been permanently stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling since its inception in 1945. Initially an all male group, in 1973 the Singing Sergeants became the first American military chorus to enlist women. The group strives to fulfill the mission of the United States Air Force Band: to honor those who have served, inspire Americans to heightened patriotism and service, and positively impact our global community.
The Singing Sergeants honors veterans through more than 200 public performances each year in the Capital region and across the country. The chorus embarks on several tours each year to different regions of the country, performing in a variety of venues including concert halls, sporting arenas, theatres, high schools, and community centers. Repertoire for these concerts includes traditional choral selections, music from Broadway shows, pop tunes, holiday favorites, and patriotic selections. Each concert ends with patriotic music and a medley of the armed forces service songs during which veterans in the audience stand to be recognized by their community. Chorus members often have the opportunity to speak with veterans before and after performances, thanking them for their service and hearing about their experiences in the military.
We also honor America’s veterans on locally- and nationally-broadcast television events commemorating patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day. The group has been seen on the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks broadcast as well as the PBS National Memorial Day Concert.
Additionally, the chorus performs for groups of veterans visiting Washington, D.C. Through the Honor Flight Network, veterans from around the country visit our nation’s capital to see the memorials dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifices of themselves and their comrades. As part of each visit, Honor Flights are welcomed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling for a performance highlighting repertoire from the World War II, Vietnam, and Korean War eras.
Read the rest of this article (and more!) in the November 2019 issue of Choral Journal, available online at acda.org.