News

Offutt’s Raptor Band reaches out to local students

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Gerard Birkenmeier, a guitarist from the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, rehearses prior to the concert at Aurora Public Schools on April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. These Airman musicians represent more than 325,000 Air Force professionals around the world who protect and defend America’s freedoms. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Gerard Birkenmeier, a guitarist from the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, rehearses prior to the concert at Aurora Public Schools on April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. These Airman musicians represent more than 325,000 Air Force professionals around the world who protect and defend America’s freedoms. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Packard, vocalist with the United States Heartland of America Band, sings Don’t Stop Believing by Journey to students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools on April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. The members of Raptor bring to the Air Force many years of professional experience with symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, touring shows, and from singing songs from today’s popular artists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Packard, vocalist with the United States Heartland of America Band, sings Don’t Stop Believing by Journey to students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools on April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. The members of Raptor bring to the Air Force many years of professional experience with symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, touring shows, and from singing songs from today’s popular artists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alena Zidlicky, vocalist and French horn player with the United States Heartland of America Band, sings for students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. Each of the musicians is a full-time, active-duty member of the Air Force. Their mission is to cultivate positive relationships between the U.S. Air Force and communities across the state through music. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alena Zidlicky, vocalist and French horn player with the United States Heartland of America Band, sings for students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. Each of the musicians is a full-time, active-duty member of the Air Force. Their mission is to cultivate positive relationships between the U.S. Air Force and communities across the state through music. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

Middle and high school students from Aurora Public Schools assemble in their school auditorium to watch a performance by members of Raptor, an ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band is a group of Air Force professional musicians whose backgrounds include advanced degrees in music performance and whose broad mastery of musical styles range from classic to contemporary, jazz to country and pop to rock. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

Middle and high school students from Aurora Public Schools assemble in their school auditorium to watch a performance by members of Raptor, an ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band is a group of Air Force professional musicians whose backgrounds include advanced degrees in music performance and whose broad mastery of musical styles range from classic to contemporary, jazz to country and pop to rock. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

Students from Aurora Public Schools give applause to members of Raptor, an ensemble of the United States Heartland of America band during a concert April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. The Heartland of America Band’s various component ensembles perform more than 150 concerts annually, performing extensively throughout Nebraska and surrounding states. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Zachary Hada)

Students from Aurora Public Schools give applause to members of Raptor, an ensemble of the United States Heartland of America band during a concert April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. The Heartland of America Band’s various component ensembles perform more than 150 concerts annually, performing extensively throughout Nebraska and surrounding states. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Zachary Hada)

Students from Aurora Public Schools give applause to members of Raptor, an ensemble of the United States Heartland of America band during a concert April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. Known throughout the United States for its outstanding performances and recordings, the Heartland of America Band reaches more than one million people annually through live performances, radio and television appearances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

Students from Aurora Public Schools give applause to members of Raptor, an ensemble of the United States Heartland of America band during a concert April 13, 2016 in Aurora Neb. Known throughout the United States for its outstanding performances and recordings, the Heartland of America Band reaches more than one million people annually through live performances, radio and television appearances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Packard, a vocalist with the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, sings for students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. In addition to engaging community concerts, the band provides patriotic music and fanfares for military ceremonies, important civic events, and conducts educational clinics throughout Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Packard, a vocalist with the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, sings for students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. In addition to engaging community concerts, the band provides patriotic music and fanfares for military ceremonies, important civic events, and conducts educational clinics throughout Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

Middle and high school students from Aurora Public Schools assemble in their school auditorium to watch a performance by members of Raptor, an ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band is a group of Air Force professional musicians whose backgrounds include advanced degrees in music performance and whose broad mastery of musical styles range from classic to contemporary, jazz to country and pop to rock. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

Middle and high school students from Aurora Public Schools assemble in their school auditorium to watch a performance by members of Raptor, an ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band is a group of Air Force professional musicians whose backgrounds include advanced degrees in music performance and whose broad mastery of musical styles range from classic to contemporary, jazz to country and pop to rock. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Packard, a vocalist with the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, sings with students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools on April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band showcases the Air Force’s excellence and precision in every performance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Packard, a vocalist with the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, sings with students during a concert at Aurora Public Schools on April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band showcases the Air Force’s excellence and precision in every performance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

Raptor, an ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band performed a concert for students at Aurora Public Schools April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band is a group of Air Force professional musicians whose backgrounds include advanced degrees in music performance and whose broad mastery of musical styles range from classic to contemporary, jazz to country and pop to rock.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 10

Raptor, an ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band performed a concert for students at Aurora Public Schools April 13, 2016, in Aurora, Neb. The Heartland of America Band is a group of Air Force professional musicians whose backgrounds include advanced degrees in music performance and whose broad mastery of musical styles range from classic to contemporary, jazz to country and pop to rock. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska --

The U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band’s Raptor ensemble took to the stage on April 13 at Aurora Public Schools to perform a concert for middle and high schoolers in Aurora, Neb.

 

Raptor,  a rock band that consists of two vocalists, keyboard, guitar, drums and bass.

 

Each of the musicians is a full-time, active-duty member of the Air Force with a mission to promote positive relationships between the U.S. Air Force and communities across the state through music.

 

Before the concert, students shared their opinions and expectations on the event.

 

Carter Thompson, high school student attending Aurora Public Schools, said he was expecting the event to be either a motivational speaker or something informational about the military.

 

“I’m expecting the band to play some military songs like parade or marching music, I’m not sure what to expect,” Thompson said. “I look forward to seeing what’s going to happen.”

 

During the concert the Raptor performed songs such as Happy, Good Girl, Ain’t It Fun, Uptown Funk, Shake it off and Don’t Stop Believing. 

 

U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Rebecca Packard, vocalist with the Heartland of America Band, gave some advice to the students.

 

“I would like to tell you that everything in life from here on out is going to be smooth sailing, that nothing will be in your way but that wouldn’t be the truth,” Packard said. “But if you work hard for your goal and keep in mind that you need to respect yourself and others, then you’re going to succeed no matter what.”

 

After the concert Thompson said he was impressed with the show and that he would like to listen to the band play again in the future.

 

“This was an enjoyable and fun surprise,” Thompson said. “I think everyone had a really good time.”

 

Brandon Timm, Aurora Public Schools teacher, thought the event was a fun and positive influence on the student body.

 

“Anytime you have a positive message for kids to value themselves is fantastic,” Timm said. “I think it’s a great message for students to hear.”

 

Rod Havens, Aurora Public Schools teacher, said the event was a great opportunity for their students to see military members not only as professionals who do their job every day, but as people who can also have fun.

 

“This was a great way for kids to see that side of the military and if any school is interested, they should definitely have these people reach out to make a positive impact in their student’s lives,” Havens said.

 

For more information about the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band or to request the band click here.