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Breaking down barriers with music

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:56:08 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 30 2013 05:55:53 PM CDT

Wild Blue Country, music on a mission


A United States Air Force Academy musical group is making smiles and understanding happen all over the world.  Wild Blue Country is a band that does 400 performances every year.  Master Sergeant Stephen Brannen has been with this group for six years, "It's great, a lot of fun."  

As Stephen explained to me, that fun is also tempered with hard work in the band and the ability to bridge barriers with the music.  Brannen told me about one event in Kryzghstan that really put the band's mission in perspective.  Wild Blue Country played for American and Russian troops during a performance that had a bit of an icy start.  As Stephen told me, the Russians were not as quick to have conversations with their American counterparts.  Both groups were sitting in the audience with the people of the village listening to Wild Blue.  Stephen tells me the next thing you know, "By the end of the show they were all shaking hands and we were having a good time."  The Russian and American military groups went on to have a good talks with one another.  Music brought them together.

Lieutenant Colonel Don Schofield is the Commander and Conductor of the United States Air Force Academy Band.  He sees first hand how music breaks down barriers and bridges a path to understanding, "When we go into communities that don't have an Air Force or military presence, it's important to bridge that trust and we do that in the universal language of music.  I believe when we go out, we represent something greater than we are, individually."

That's why Wild Blue Country band members are our Wear Red Friday Heroes.  I've put a link to their webpage on, links we mentioned.  You can also nominate your own Wear Red Friday Hero.  Go back to and our Wear Red Friday section on our home page.


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