Music to the ears

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Todd Wivell
  • U.S. Air Forces Africa Public Affairs
"Music has the ability to evoke so many positive emotions," said Staff Sgt. Dustin Trimble, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band "Touch 'n Go" lead guitarist. "It is an international language that brings us all together."
Proof of this came Oct. 3 when the USAFE six-person rock and roll band, "Touch 'n Go" performed for the more than 60 children who make up the field band of the Cullinan Combined School in South Africa.
This was the second time in a period of three days that the band was able to visit and perform with the field band.
The first time the band listened to the field bands performances and provided feedback. The second time "Touch 'n Go" actually played a one-hour set of popular songs that had the children dancing, singing and jumping around with an energy hardly ever seen before.
"When we play for regular crowds, you see the music appreciated," said Staff Sgt. Nick Wellman, USAFE "Touch 'n Go" audio engineer. "But here there was a look on the faces that says we're doing something really special for them.
"It really feels like we are giving something back to these children as they loved our music, showed it by their reactions and really seemed to listen to us when we gave our feedbacks."
The band sang and played popular songs from artists like Michael Jackson, Lady Ga Ga and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and various others that had everyone on their feet dancing away.
"This was a different type of music then what we are used to," said Mary Aphane, Cullinan Combined School dance instructor. "We are all so use to African music, but hearing this band play shows us there is something else out there."
Aphane has been with the school since she was a child, transitioning from student to instructor and said this was the first time she had ever got to experience live music from an American band.
During one of the musical pieces the USAFE band performed their was a keyboard solo that inspired Aphane to come out into the middle of the crowd and perform a theatrical dance that had all eyes on her as she glided and moved across the grassy field.
"The band has the ability to get right on the level of the audience," said Trimble. "To see her out there dancing and moving like that was awesome.
"I never envisioned that my career in the band would take me to South Africa and to have been here and performed for these field band members is a memory I will never forget."
The USAFE "Touch 'n Go" band was in Pretoria, South Africa in support of the 2011 Air Show and Lifestyle Expo at Waterkloof Air Force Base and through U.S. Embassy coordination had the opportunity to go out visit this school.
To find out more information on the entire USAFE band to include the "Touch 'n Go" band, visit their website at