USAFE, NATO bands rock German city

by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Cloudy skies and a light rain couldn’t keep more than 9,000 spectators away from the Fritz-Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern for the 22nd annual NATO Musikfestival Saturday.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity to travel to Germany and perform in an arena this size,” said Airman 1st Class Laura Hall, augmentee for USAFE band.
For more than two hours, spectators were serenaded in each nation’s culture as the bands performed individually one after the other.

Audience members applauded at the discipline of The Drill Team of the Guard Battalion at the Federal Ministry of Defence, Federal Republic of Germany.

The festival involved more than 450 military members from the Upper Austria Military Band, the Royal Naval Band from Belgium, the Latvian National Armed Forces Band from Riga, the Koszalin Military Band from Poland, the military ensemble from Luxembourg accompanied by their special guest star Joy Fleming, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band and representing Germany, the Naval Band Baltic Sea and a drill formation from the Guards Battalion.

The finale brought all the nations together for one large, unified performance.
The globally combined band played a 15-minute concerto that consisted of all seven national anthems conducted by their respective band commander and a marching drill that was custom-written for this year’s ensemble.

The performance brought the audience to their feet with an applause that rocked the stadium.

For three hours, seven nations were in search of the same goal, harmony.

“This festival (was) a great opportunity to perform with and meet people from other bands,” said Airman 1st Class Adam Porter. Airman Porter is one of three tuba players that augmented the USAFE band.

In 1965, the City of Kaiserslautern and NATO’s Allied Air Command Headquarters at Ramstein jointly organized the NATO Musikfestival. Since then, it has become a permanent feature in Kaiserslautern’s calendar of events. In 2003, the NATO Music Festival Foundation was established to benefit charitable institutions and projects in the area of Kaiserslautern.

Saturday’s proceeds went entirely to the foundation.