Memorial Day weekend sees band's return

SUWANEE - Last year, the Air Force Reserve's Concert Band made an impression on thousands of Gwinnett residents during a performance at Town Center Park in Suwanee.

Turns out, the crowd made an impression on the band, too.

The 43-piece concert band will return to Town Center Park on May 26 for another patriotic performance to kick off Memorial Day weekend. Part of the reason behind the band's encore was the warm welcome it received in Suwanee, said Master Sgt. James Verrelli, director of operations for the Band of the Air Force Reserve.

"That's one of the reasons we're coming back," Verrelli said. "It was such a great crowd. It was a lot of fun."

The nationally renowned Concert Band's repertoire includes a variety of music, from patriotic and classical tunes to movie songs and popular music. The band has played throughout the United States and toured Russia twice, and has performed with legends and stars including Bob Hope and Faith Hill.

Before the band's performance at 7:30 p.m. May 26, crowds can look to the skies for an added bonus. Members of "Silver Wings," the Fort Benning Command Exhibition Parachute Demonstration Team, will parachute into the park to launch the evening's musical celebration.

The inclusion of the parachute team will help make the concert an even more memorable event, said Staff Sgt. Ryan Miles, the concert band's tour manager.

"It's going to be just a really wonderful kickoff for the Memorial Day weekend," Miles said.

Attendees may bring chairs, blankets and picnics to the event, but no alcohol is allowed. There will be food available for purchase. Off-site parking and a free shuttle to Town Center Park will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Shadowbrook Baptist Church, 4187 Suwanee Dam Road.

For more information on the concert, which is co-sponsored by the Gwinnett Daily Post and Operation One Voice, call 770-963-9205, ext. 1316. For more on the Band of the Air Force Reserve, visit www.band.afrc.af.mil.