USAFE Band swings through northern Italy

  • Published
  • By Julie Scott
  • 31 Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa band, Wings of Dixie, recently completed a visit to the Aviano Air Base region in Italy.

The band traveled to the area to help the 31st Fighter Wing celebrate its 25 years of being at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

 “We are here in Italy to help the 31st Fighter Wing celebrate their 25th anniversary at Aviano Air Base and we proposed to the wing leadership that we could come out to the local audiences and share some music and share some friendship with the local community. So, the theme tonight is friendship,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca Collins, USAFE Band’s Wings of Dixie clarinetist and noncommissioned officer in charge.

Wings of Dixie is an ensemble group of the USAFE-AFAFRICA band stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. They are the only ensemble of its kind traveling throughout Europe and Africa playing their version of up-beat, toe-tapping Dixieland jazz.

USAFE-AFAFRICA band’s gift of music reaches a diverse audience, positively representing the U.S. commitment to partnership and friendship. The band played a broad range of music from World War I era to today’s top rock and roll and pop hits.

Their broad range of music stems from the desire to reach the widest audience.

“We want to connect with people, young and old, all different people from different walks of life so we play as many different kinds of music as we can and we find that we have a very wide appeal,” said Collins.

Through music, the band was able to connect with people to increase cultural ties, build relationships and strengthen the trusted partnership between the U.S. and Italy. The USAFE-AFAFRICA band showed the communities around Aviano Air Base that they live up to their motto as “America’s Musical Ambassadors” of goodwill.

“(The band) has performed in many different communities, always building friendships, building partnerships with our neighbors throughout Europe,” said Collins.

The band performed at the elderly homes in Aviano, San Quirino, and Roveredo in Piano. Caretakers enjoyed the music as much as the residents. There was standing room only with many people outside the doors listening to their songs.

Mayor of San Qurino Gianni Giugovaz thanked the band for playing and stated that the visit was proof of the good relationship between the two communities. He commented that they are used to hearing the sometimes loud jets but the music today was a joy to hear.

“Beautiful music, a pleasure to listen to,” said Giugovaz. 

Following the Aviano elderly home concert, Aviano Alderman Danilo Signore thanked the band for the great journey through American music. Noting their visit was a testimony of the good relationship and bond between Italy and America, he invited them to play again the next time they were in Italy.

The band also performed two evening concerts for the local communities in the Centro Culturla Aldo Moro, Cordenones and at Piazzetta Pescheria, Portogruaro. Over 300 community members enjoyed songs from the band’s repertoire including favorites ‘Bourbon Street Parade’ and ‘Bugle Call Rag’ as well as their interpretation on classics like ‘Wagon Wheel’ and current hit ‘Crazy in Love’ by Beyoncé.

Each concert ended with the Wings of Dixie anthem, ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’, inspiring the audience to sing along while toe-tapping, head-nodding, and even a little bit of dancing - no translation needed.