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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

Enjoy Red White & Blue Sounds During Fiesta With USAF Band

Members of the Gateway Brass recently visited the TPR studios for a performance and conversation about their careers in music and in the U.S. Air Force. You can hear three songs recorded in our session at the bottom of this page.

Gateway is part of the larger U.S. Air Force Band of the West, stationed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The group will be performing on April 22 and 23 at an official Fiesta event, “Fiesta In Blue,” that features the ensemble’s big band, Dimensions in Blue, as well as the rock group Warhawk and the Horizon Saxophone Quartet.

Senior Airman Daniel Thrower says their concerts are always “not just about playing music,” but about inspiring the audience. “Some of my favorite experiences have been with veterans, playing certain pieces that draw emotions out of them. I love playing [armed forces] service songs and watching them stand proudly.”

Tech Sgt. John Caputo agrees, explaining the Band of the West’s mission is to Honor, Inspire, Communicate, and Recruit.

“As a euphonium player, the military is one of my few job options to really have a secure career,” Caputo notes matter-of-factly. “There are a lot of auditions out there [for musicians], and you take the one that offers the best opportunity.”

But the Air Force offered something more than just an opportunity, according to Caputo. “With the Air Force, you get to do something that really feels like it means something. You feel like you’re supporting something important.”

Caputo says that the members of Gateway all have degrees in music, and are integrated into the community of San Antonio. In addition to playing trumpet in the Air Force, Thrower, who holds a Doctorate degree from Arizona State University, also teaches evenings at UTSA.

The public is invited to this year’s Fiesta In Blue concert, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00, April 22 and 23, at the Edgewood Theatre of the Performing Arts, 402 Lance St. The performance is free; pick up tickets at either the Lackland or Randolph ITT offices, the Fort Sam Houston MWR office, or at the Fiesta Commission’s offices (2611 Broadway). 

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.