The Air National Guard Bands are comprised of part-time military members who want to serve the United States with their abilities as musicians, enlisting just like any other person.
“People are surprised to learn my job in the military is to be a musician,” said Staff Sgt. Spencer Herron, the operations director and a band member for the 530th Air Force Band, also known as the Band of the South.
The 530th meets once a month for the more than 30 members to rehearse and perform together and as small groups. These small groups include a concert band, the jazz ensemble Eagle’s Flight and even a rock band called Space-A. The pop-rock group Sound Barrier will play this week at Atlantic Station’s Friday Night Live.
The band serves as a liaison between the military and the public, playing for official functions, community events, and educational outreach programs. It’s all about serving both the military and everyday people.
Based in Marietta, the band mostly performs in the southern states, but members have been deployed overseas as well. Recently, Herron served with Space-A for a 40-day deployment in areas of Africa and the Middle East. He said his favorite performance was in Djibouti where the band got to interact with locals and both got to experience one another’s culture. (Check out the picture of him playing soccer with the local children.)
Herron describes Sound Barrier as a mix of Chicago and Earth, Wind, and Fire. This sub-section features a horn section and plays everything from the B-52s to Van Morrison. The Atlantic Station show will kick off the summer tour, which will include stops at the Georgia Aquarium and the Blue Ridge Arts Festival.
Herron says the best part of being in the 530th Air Force Band is “seeing the positive reaction we have to all kinds of crowds and all kinds of audiences.”
“It’s a good sense of patriotism,” he said.