YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Eyes gleaming with appreciation and joy, their hands clapping in unison to the beat as the song ended. Without hesitation, the crowd let go a barrage of “encores!” With their prayers answered, the show went on for at least one more song. An experience those in attendance won’t soon forget.
This wasn’t a concert hall, it was the Musashimuryama En nursing home in Musashimuryama, Japan on Jan. 25, 2019, but for the 40 minutes the United States Air Force Band of the Pacific popular music ensemble Pacific Trends played for the residents it was a rock show.
“These types of shows really are my favorite,” said Senior Airman Patricia Perez, Pacific Trends bassist. “Having the opportunity to go out into the community and interact face to face with the local populace is truly something special. It’s special because we get to connect with our audience on a musical and a personal level.”
From start to finish, it was a performance that meant the world to the audience. After the show one of the residents was just so thankful, she held the hands of each band member, tears in her eyes as she repeated the purist of “Arigato gozaimashita”.
“When things like that happen it really is an emotion I cannot even describe,” said Perez. “It’s just that powerful. We don’t speak the same language but because of music I was able to share that moment with her.”
Its moments like that that have the band playing more than 80 concerts in Japan with another 120 played throughout their area of responsibility.
“For us as a band, these concerts are a chance for us to not just represent the band, but be the face of the Air Force,” said Master Sgt. Christin Foley, Pacific Trends vocalist. “It’s a chance for us to show people what the Air Force is all about. Our music is our message and with that message we are able to share in a lot of powerful moments with our nation’s partners.”