If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s packed full of awesome. (Scroll down for video).
The USAF Band decided to surprise visitors to the National Air and Space Museum with its first ever ‘holiday flash mob.’
They documented it on their blog.
Dec. 3, 11:53 a.m. – The Air and Space Museum is buzzing with excitement. The United States Air Force Band members disguised in civilian coats roam the museum, acting as tourists. Observing a sign stating that there will be filming in the area, a group of tourists asks an employee what is being filmed. “Something big is happening in here in seven minutes–stick around!” the employee replies. A group of children speculate what the big surprise could possibly be. “I think they might be launching that rocket!” a young boy chimes. “Maybe we’ll get to try on a space suit!” The crowd noise heightens as the clock inches closer to noon.
A man walks to the center of the museum carrying just one chair and places it in an open area. Nobody seems to notice. Suddenly, one cellist removes a civilian coat to reveal his ceremonial uniform. He sits down and begins to play “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” A few close spectators turn and begin to listen. The cellist is joined shortly by the Band’s commander and conductor, Col. Larry H. Lang, as well as a bassist and a handful of winds and strings who are each presented with their instrument by a member of the United States Air Force Honor Guard. The small group slowly turns into a mass of airmen musicians, each adding a new texture to the tune. From the balcony, two solo voices begin to float out over the crowds. They are joined by a host of singers lining the balcony railing. As “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” draws to a conclusion, the music changes. The tempo accelerates and as the key changes, a group of brass players in ceremonial uniforms sound a glorious fanfare from the balcony of the museum. This fanfare leads directly to a rousing rendition of “Joy to the World.” The music fills the National Air and Space Museum and lights the faces of the audience members. At the conclusion of the performance, the final triumphant brass chord lingers in the museum long after the musicians have stopped playing. The audience erupts into applause.
The crescendo to the end, with full brass fanfare and singers from the balcony will make you smile as you watch the reactions from the crowd.
As a musician, I’ve been very lucky to have performed with a couple of the military bands in past years (not as a direct member, but in joint performances as a member of other groups). If you ever have the opportunity to attend/view any of their concerts/appearances, especially around this time of year, I highly recommend it. Some of the best musicians you’ll hear and just all-around fantastic organizations. You won’t be disappointed.
h/t NPR News
(Featured image credit: TheUSAFBand YouTube video)