Universal language breaks barriers

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nicole Sikorski
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
With many languages around the world, communication can be a challenge between nations.  One group of Airmen makes it easier with the use of an international language--music.

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band Touch 'n Go ensemble works to spread joy and raise morale for audiences across Europe, Africa and various deployed locations. 

Responsibilities range from musical support at military functions to military and community entertainment with European neighbors. 

"We get to use music to immediately connect with people who may not [speak the same language]," said Senior Airman Carmen Emborski, USAFE Touch 'n Go band vocalist and transportation vehicle representative. "Through music we can make that connection with countries the United States wants to build a relationship with...we can send a message to anyone of any age or cultural background while we are up on stage."

Upholding military tradition is one of the reasons for the band's musical presence.  Music has played a part on many occasions in history ranging from playing in formations to taps and ceremonies.

The band delivers a wide variety of music including recent pop tunes to older classical music.

Touch 'n Go performs at many local events but are also tasked with bringing morale to service members and civilians down-range.           
It is common that people will only see the combat readiness part of the picture, so it is especially important in foreign nations to go and interact with the community to give them a good impression, said Staff Sgt. Alex Nikiforoff, USAFE Touch 'n go band guitarist.

"A major initiative of the military is building partnerships and enhancing international relationships with both military members and civilians," said Nikiforoff. "It is an honor to have the privilege to communicate our heritage across a wide variety of demographics and increase knowledge of the U.S. [presence.]"

Not only do band members give to the community, but they get a sense of fulfillment back through these humbling experiences, he continued.

"It can be emotional to see children with (very little), trying to do well with what they have."

The USAFE band plays a critical role in spreading a good impression of the U.S. and strengthening international relationships.