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Special concert for some special children
Senior Master Sgt. James Weber meets with children of the Belovodosky Orphanage June 14 in Kyrgyzstan. Sergeant Weber is a guitar player and vocalist for the U.S. Air Forces Central Band Falcon who performed at the orphanage. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tabitha Kuykendall)
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Special concert given for some special children

Posted 6/18/2008   Updated 6/18/2008 Email story   Print story


by Lt. Col. Adriane Craig
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/18/2008 - MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan (AFPN) -- The U.S. Air Forces Central Band Falcon gave a special performance to some special children at the Belvodosky Orphanage June 14 in Kyrgyzstan.

The band members, who are deployed from the Heartland of America Band at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., sang about a dozen songs for about 80 children.

The orphanage is home to about 250 special needs children with various mental and physical handicaps. The children range in age from 5 to 17 years old.

The children had no problem enjoying the music performed in English.

"They always say music is an international language and this event proved it," said Staff Sgt. Krista Joyce, the lead female vocalist of the band."

The group performed American pop and rock music with artist ranging from James Brown to more current tunes like James Blunt.

At the end of the performance Senior Master Sgt. James Weber, a guitarist and vocalist, asked if the children could sing for them. As they gathered around, Denis Sedykh, led several songs including "Katiusha," a famous song from World War II about a girl in love with a Russian soldier.

The song was a hit with the rest of the children and with the band members, who were thrilled to hear the children sing in Russian.

"We came to entertain you, but you entertained us instead," said Sergeant Weber, "We're so thankful we have our new friends today."

The band members also delivered donations of clothes from the Manas Air Base Outreach Society. MABOS members regularly visit the orphanage to spend time with the kids.

Israilova Vera, the director of the orphanage, said the school has a wonderful relationship with the base. They've always enjoyed service members visits, but they were especially thankful for the special performance from the band, she said.

"We are so delighted by the performance," she said. "We were expecting to see a performance from some singers from the base...we had no idea it would be such professionals."

The children danced and played with the instruments right up until it was time for the band to depart to Manas Air Base.

For the band members, it was one of the highlights of their tour in the Central Command area of responsibility, they said.

"It was just a whole different level of appreciation," said Master Sgt. James Joyce, who is the operations manager for the band.

Ms. Vera had no doubt the music touched the children very deeply, she said.

"This is the highlight not only of their day, but of their life," Ms. Vera said.

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