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Irvington Concert on the Commons

     On Monday, July 1, at 7 p.m. Irvington will wind up its 4th of July celebration with a free concert. The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band will make its twelfth annual appearance on the Irvington Commons. There will be a special treat this year when the Southeastern Virginia Club 6-Ultralight Flyers make their first appearance in a flyover before the concert. The flight will be led by Ed Oliver of White stone, former U.S. Air Force Tech Sergeant. Left wing man is Leo Callahan, former Vietnam F105 Pilot, and right wing man is Commander Al Carpenter, retired U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran and P.O.W.

Major Larry H. Lang, Commander and Conductor of the USAF Heritage of America Band     The 61-member USAF Heritage of America Band promotes America's national heritage and supports Air Force community relations, troop morale, and recruiting programs through live performances, recordings, and online services. Stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, the band has set the standard for musical excellence in the Mid-Atlantic region for over 50 years.

     Bands have grown from a very humble beginning to worldwide status. The 14 members of the first known "air force" band set foot on French soil in September 1917, carrying instruments purchased from their lieutenant's personal funds. The commander of the 36th Aeronautics Squadron, to which they were assigned, was so impressed with his musicians that he petitioned the American Red Cross in Paris to help find more instruments, and increased the band's size. 

     Bands have come a long way since then. Throughout World War II, the bands of the Army Air Corps contributed significantly in supporting the morale of our troops. When the Air Force became a separate service in 1947, Air Corps bands also transferred to the young Air Force. 

     The United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, under the leadership of its commander and conductor, Major Larry H. Lang, the band has earned international critical acclaim and numerous honors: eight Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, four Air Force Organizational Excellence Awards, three Colonel George S. Howard Citations of Musical Excellence for Military Concert Band, North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and countless state and municipal proclamations. Each year, the band's components travel over 30,000 miles to perform 340 concerts for a half million listeners across a seven-state region from New Jersey to South Carolina.

     Parking for the concert is available at the Irvington United Methodist and Baptist Churches, at Chesapeake Academy and along King Carter, Chesapeake and Tidewater Drives and Steamboat Road. Last year 2,500 people attended the concert.

     As they have done for the past several years, Chesapeake Bank will make a much-appreciated contribution to the event by providing free hot dogs, chips and sodas while they last, beginning at 5:30 p.m. As always, attendees are invited to enjoy the picnic atmosphere by bringing blankets or lawn chairs. For more information about the Irvington Chamber of Commerce and Village Improvement Association or any of its events, please call Marybeth Sisson at (804)438-6180 or Alison Drake at (804)438-5447. 

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