Tonawanda News — The Jazz Ambassadors, the official touring big band of the U.S. Army, will be returning to Tonawanda to give a free show at Kenmore East High School on Friday.
According to Phil Aguglia, the band director at Kenmore East, this will be the Ambassador’s second trip to the area, having performed at the school a couple of years ago.
“They are one of the top military ensembles, they play at an unbelievable level,” Aguglia said. “They had such a good experience here last time.”
Aguglia says that the students were “blown away” by the performance given by the Jazz Ambassadors last time they stopped by Ken East. He says that’s why the school was so excited to have them perform there again.
The Kenmore East Jazz Band will open the show, playing a 40-minute set before the Jazz Ambassadors take the stage. The students will even get a chance to use the Ambassadors’ equipment which Aguglia describes as a “rare treat.”
The Jazz Ambassadors are just as excited to come to town as the students and staff at Kenmore East are to have them, Aguglia said. Master Sgt. John Altman, who plays the trumpet for the Jazz Ambassadors and is from Long Island, played at Kenmore East last time.
“It’s going to be great, being from New York it’s exciting for me,” Altman said. “I have family in the Toronto area and we used to drive through Buffalo all the time. To be up in this area again is neat. I had family come see us play last time, I hope to see some family in Tonawanda this time too.”
Altman and pianist Master Sgt. Tim Young, both life-long musicians, say that the option to play music within the military is what helped them decided to enlist in the first place. They said the reactions of pride and patriotism from the audience, especially when that audience includes veterans, is what makes it worth it.