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San Antonio Symphony, USAF Band Team Up To Salute Troops

This Saturday night, the San Antonio Symphony and the US Air Force Band of the West team up to present their tenth annual Salute to Armed Forces concert at Laurie Auditorium.

Conducting the orchestra will be the San Antonio Symphony’s Akiko Fujimoto, and the program includes patriotic music by Aaron Copland, John Willams, and George M. Cohan. Fujimoto says the added touch of 13 brass players from the Air Force is a boon to the orchestra’s sound.

“It’s a great treat because we get to fortify our brass section. We also get to do repertoire that we can’t do by ourselves—or we can, but it’s not as much fun without them,” Fujimoto says, referencing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

“The Air Force Band of the West has a plethora of patriotic repertoire that we don’t have,” Fujimoto adds. “They also bring a lot of music that we don’t get to hear at our concerts very often.”

Master Sergeant Jeff Castle, who plays trumpet with the Band of the West, echoes Fujimoto’s eager anticipation of the event, saying the band looks forward to their San Antonio Symphony collaboration each year.

“The musicians in the symphony are absolutely some of the best musicians in the world, and to get to partner up with them, and to put this product out there to the community of San Antonio is a win-win for everybody,” Castle says.

In addition to the classically oriented concert fare on the program this weekend, it’s a tradition for the Symphony and the Band of the West to perform an Armed Services Medley, a moment that both Castle and Fujimoto agree is a highlight of the program, as each military branch rises to thunderous applause during their designated song.

The Salute To Armed Forces with San Antonio Symphony and US Air Force Band of the West is free and open to the public. The concert takes place this Saturday, November 22, 8pm at Laurie Auditorium. Tickets are available in person at the San Antonio Symphony offices (711 Navarro, Suite 235), Fiesta Commission store, and on base at Fort Sam Houston's MWR Office or at the Lackland and Randolph AFB ITT offices. More information about the USAF Band of the West is on their website here.

Listen below to hear members of the Freedom Brass performing in the Texas Public Radio studios.