My Son And The Jazz Ambassadors


My oldest son developed a love for good quality jazz and orchestra music from an early age...I don't know if that stems from listening to Manhattan Transfer frequently while he was still in the womb, if its hereditary to like good music, or what.

A few days ago he got excited about a FREE! concert his band teacher told him about. Not just any band, but a jazz band--he really likes jazz. Not just any jazz band, but the professional US Army Jazz Ambassadors.

I've always wanted to take my oldest to a live orchestra or other live musical performance, so I got excited to...and my wife, knowing how much I love live music, let me take him even though she wanted to go too!

So last night, with my son practically dragging me out the door with anticipation, we drove to Astoria's Liberty theater. We had to park a few blocks away to find a place to park, even in our small town, and followed several people into the theater.

Most of the audience was a few generations older than myself, which made the experience extra special. Perhaps its the love I have for my late grandparents who were of the same generation. Perhaps its a respect for the history, culture, ethics, and experiences their generation laid as a foundation for future generations . I think its both. Big Band Jazz is the iconic musical representation of their generation.

Not only was the room filled with a generation I respect tremendously, it was also filled with veterans from all branches of the military representing service during World War II to the present. I was surprised and extra touched by how many veterans there were from World War II. I have a lot of respect for soldiers' and veterans' willingness to sacrifice themselves to protect the rest of us and our freedoms. Those who join the military surely realize the risks--and knowing the risks have decided for themselves from the beginning that they would willingly sacrifice their own lives to protect us, our Country, and our freedoms. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. " John 15:13.

I don't know if my son realized the significance of being in the presence of such great people, but I'm sure it left an impression on him that he will never forget--and that will make more sense to him as he gets older. Especially with the respect the band gave the veterans. From everyone singing Happy Birthday to the WWII veteran turning 89 to the active duty Coast Guard presenting the colors to the band's Armed Forces Salute where they played the song for each branch of the military as audience members all around us stood up when their song played. As they stood, the Director respectfully saluted them. All of the veterans deserved the attention and respect they recieved at that concert.

Musically it was a great show. I've heard high school jazz bands and recordings of more professional Jazz Bands, but nothing beats the live experience. I love the professionalism, the stretching the limits of their talents in their solos, feeling the power of the dynamics characteristic of Big Band Jazz , being stimulated by the syncopation and creative rhythms, and soaking in the energy the music and musicians generated. I think it was inspiring for my son as well to feel the power that only live music can provide. I hope it motivates him to continue to enjoy developing his musical skills...to have a standard to work toward.

The other thing that made it special was having the one-on-one time with my son--enjoying an experience that was special and exciting to him. It's a memory we will share together for the rest of our eternal lives. We may not remember the details of what transpired, but we will remember how it made us feel and the things we learned from the whole engulfing experience.

It was a great experience spending time with my son, my most respected generation, the protectors of my liberty, and the US Army's Jazz Band that brought us all together.

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