RHS Jazz Band to perform at NATO Music Festival

On June 6, the traditional NATO Music Festival will be held once more in Kaiserslautern. The place to be on that day is the famous Fritz Walter soccer stadium on “Betzenberg.”

Organized by NATO’s Air Headquarters in Ramstein and the city of Kaiserslautern, the generated proceeds of the 21st NATO Music Festival will go to the NATO Music Festival foundation, which supports both local and regional community-based organizations and charity initiatives. This year’s festival is a very special one, because 2009 also marks the 60th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Another specialty is the fact that for this year’s festival, students’ bands will perform during a pre-concert starting at about 6:30 p.m. Besides students’ big bands from nearby Saarland and the town of Nieder Olm near Mainz, the Ramstein High School Jazz Band  will present their musical skills. Directed by Jeff Pellaton, the showcase big band of RHS – Jazz Limited – is dedicated to the historic “Count Basie” style of swing music, but the discography shows a wide variety of classic big band charts along with new music from all the great writers and arrangers today.

“Ramstein High School is one of the few DODDS schools with a student population large enough to offer this exciting experience,” said Mr. Pellaton, a 30-year veteran of music education in American Overseas schools. “We take the responsibility seriously and offer our jazz musicians a rigorous and comprehensive program that rivals stateside offerings.”

The NATO Music Festival, which officially begins at 7:30 p.m., brings together musicians from NATO member states and one guest nation. The Bundeswehr Band from Berlin, the USAFE band, The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas from the United Kingdom, the musical band Johan Willem Friso of the Royal Netherlands Army, the world’s oldest active military band Mehter from Turkey, and the Band of the Carinthian Military District from Austria are the participating bands at this year’s festival. Each will represent their country’s own traditions through its music.

Another highlight is the Bundeswehr’s Guard Battalion with its awesome presentation of precision drill skills.

For more information or to reserve tickets, call Kaiserslautern Tourist Information at 0631-365-2316 or 2317. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased www.ticket-online.de.

(Courtesy of Ramstein High School)