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Suwanee, Daily Post to host Air Force Band

The Gwinnett Daily Post has once again teamed with the city of Suwanee to hold a Memorial Weekend concert Friday night featuring the famously versatile orchestral stylings of the U.S. Air Force Reserve band.

"We love this event," said Lynn DeWilde, spokeswoman for the city of Suwanee. "It fits in for the weekend. It's an awesome way to kick off summer."

Before the band begins, though, look up in the sky. It's not a bird or a plane (or some guy in blue and red tights), it's a parachuting demonstration courtesy of the U.S. Army's own Silver Wings exhibition team.

"We think the Silver Wings add a degree of excitement and adventure to the event," DeWilde said. "People are really thrilled to see them literally drop into the the park."

The freefalling fellas will cap off their downward decent with patriotic panache, as per tradition.

"The last parachutist always has the American flag attached to him, and that's very neat to see, too," DeWilde said.

As for the Air Force band, the hard-working, hard-traveling 43-piece instrumental outfit hits the road each year to the tune of 100,000 miles, performing more than 500(!) shows along the way, and this weekend they're set to take the Town Center stage by storm. The ensemble is known for playing everything from Broadway fare to movie themes to pop music and, of course, all your favorite patriotic tunes.

"They play something everybody can tap their toes to and enjoy," DeWilde said.

Oh, and they even like to get the crowd involved. Directly.

"One of the things that the band does," DeWilde said, "is they typically invite someone from the audience to be a guest conductor, and that's kind of neat, too."

Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event, but "people are welcome to bring their own picnic, too," DeWilde said. "It's a nice relaxing way to kind of enter yourself into the holiday weekend."

The spokeswoman added how appreciative the city is that the renowned instrumentalists have chosen to play here at a time of year when patriotic bands of their ilk are in such high demand.

"We feel very honored in Suwanee to have the Air Force Band come and perform each year," she said.

The band was unavailable last year, but for good reason. They spent Memorial Day 2007 performing in Iraq.

SideBar: If you go

What: Gwinnett Daily Post Memorial Day Weekend Concert

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Town Center Park, at the intersection of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and Buford Highway, across the street from City Hall

Cost: Admission is free, but those who come out are asked to bring one canned good for the Gwinnett County Food Bank.

For more information: Call 770-945-8996 or visit www.suwanee.com.