Airmen serve the San Angelo Community Band

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE, Texas -- Bases and their surrounding communities throughout the DoD often share a bond so strong that it often transcends the gate between base and local area.

For Goodfellow Air Force Base and San Angelo, the bond shows itself in numerous ways. From Goodfellow Appreciation day, where the community invites military members to a free lunch in the park, to Community Appreciation day, where Goodfellow returns the favor and opens its doors to the community, to the 26-year-old San Angelo Community Band.

The community band, a brass band, made up of members of all backgrounds from military and civilian alike, comes together twice a year to perform, practicing for weeks leading up to their events.

“We just got everybody from all backgrounds; Air Force, insurance people, contractors, retired folk, high school band teachers, middle school teachers, just everyone,” said Eric T. Hansen, 17th Training Group security systems operations.

When first moving to Goodfellow in 2001, Hansen heard about the band through a coworker. He put off the idea of joining for a few years, and then in 2005 after deciding on a whim to buy a tuba from e-bay, began attending practice sessions.

“I showed up for a practice session and we rehearsed for our first concert but the next concert was about four months later after rehearsals started and I was so disappointed!” said Hansen. “I was like, ‘hey wait a minute! I just showed up!’ I had to wait another 5 months before we could play again and I just had so much fun.”

The band remains open to anyone willing to attend practice sessions, the do not “harp” on the skill of the player, remaining an open and creatively free environment.

“Everybody is of all skill levels here, we got people from the symphony, people fresh out of high school, college students, people that used to play, like me, and are just now picking it up again,” said Hansen.

In bands, coordination is crucial. Similar to a drill team marching, the band needs to work together in harmony in order to achieve their sound. Through this, Hansen finds the same level of comradery, goal setting, teamwork and community that he found within the Air Force.

“There’s a total togetherness of being a part of a band, similar to the military, we all have a common goal of just playing the music the best we can and enjoying the music,” said Hansen. “But, getting to know all these people, everyone is a friend here. It’s such a tight knit little community.”

This level of diversity and mixture between military and civilians is just a small representation of the same relationship that permeates through both Goodfellow and San Angelo.

Groups like this are nothing short of a perpetuation of Goodfellow’s involvement with San Angelo, a two way street that both parties enjoy, another piece of evidence that illustrates the credence to San Angelo’s claim to the Altus Trophy award. An award given within the Air Education Training Command to the community that shows the greatest partnership with their military community among the 12 bases within the Major Command. San Angelo has earned it.

The San Angelo Community band is currently looking for volunteers of all skill levels. Instruments are not required, as the band will find a way to provide instruments to those in need. They are aware that a lot of Goodfellow’s residence are students and are temporary, but they do not mind and insist to come out anyway.

For information on joining, contact Mr. Hansen at 325-654-5383