Air National Guard Band plays final gig

1:49 AM, Jul 5, 2012   |    comments
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson and Sidewinder. (Image from YouTube)

St. Louis (KSDK) --  Wednesday night was the end of an era for the Air National Guard Band based in St. Louis. Since the 1940's the band has entertained troops and veterans at home and overseas.

Last August a soldier's cell phone video of the band's rock ensemble "Sidewinder" caught fire on the web - turning a two week tour into a year of national TV appearances and brought more attention to the entire band.

But now the National Guard is restructuring resources and shutting down the band.

"My very first gig with this band was July 4th, 1976," says Master Sgt. Jeff Cluster, a clarinet player in the concert band. He says this 4th of July gig has yet to set in as the last for the group.

"I'm going to miss just feeling like a unit," says Tech Sgt. Angie Johnson who shot to fame as the lead singer of the ensemble "Sidewinder." "We've become a family over the years. And feeling like we're part of something that's bigger than us."

Some of the band members are headed to the next closest National Guard band in Peoria, IL but there are only so many slots available there so not everyone will continue serving in same capacity.

As for the part of the band that makes up Sidewinder, they say perhaps someday they can figure out a way to get the band back together.



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