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Concert band will play in support of Air Force Week

DULUTH - Maj. Chad Steffey was reminded recently of just how powerful music can be.

While he and 13 of his fellow U.S. Air Force Reserve Concert Band members were deployed to southwest Asia for two months, they helped boost morale by performing for troops who are working to support peacekeeping operations near Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The troops Steffey met there call every day they spend overseas "Groundhog Day," after the Bill Murray movie in which the main character keeps waking up and reliving the exact same day.

"They're working 10 to 12 hours a day doing the same things day in and day out in a really harsh environment," Steffey said. "When the band rolls in, it breaks up the monotony and gives them a break from the dangerous conditions. It brings them a touch of home, puts a smile on their faces. It's a reminder of the folks at home who support them."

Steffey and his fellow bandmates will bring a little of that musical magic to Gwinnett Monday when they perform in support of Air Force Week, one of several shows they have planned for the week. The show, sponsored by the Gwinnett Daily Post, will take place at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center in Duluth.

"It's our way of saying thank you to the communities that support our airmen," Steffey said.

Monday's show will include a variety of music, from classical wind pieces to patriotic tunes from Glenn Miller to the present day, Steffey said. The show will also feature a retrospective look at the Air Force, part of a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force.

And if you're in the mood for a few John Philip Sousa marches, you will not be disappointed. The band has several of the composer's tunes on the lineup.

"When people come out to hear a military band, they expect to hear traditional music like that," Steffey said.

SideBar: If you go

' What: Gwinnett Daily Post presents the U.S. Air Force Reserve Concert Band

' When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

' Where: Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth

' Cost: The concert is free, but guests must have a ticket to be admitted. Guests are asked to bring a canned good item for charity. Tickets are no longer available.

' Info: Call 770-963-9205 or visit www.gwinnettdailypost.com.