Monday, December 9, 2013

The USAF spreads holiday cheer

I did write "Stay tuned for more SRZS BZNS," but this post isn't it.  It's more fluff, but at least with a technological bent.

First, as I wrote on Daily Kos, here's a video I missed last night.  I glanced at the thumbnail preview on the USAF YouTube page last night, but didn't bother to look.  I should have.  It's awesome!

USAF Band Holiday Flash Mob at the National Air and Space Museum

The United States Air Force Band performed a flash mob at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum on Dec. 3, 2013.
From the USAF Band website:
A man walks to the center of the museum carrying just one chair and places it in an open area. Nobody seems to notice. Suddenly, one cellist removes a civilian coat to reveal his ceremonial uniform. He sits down and begins to play "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." A few close spectators turn and begin to listen. The cellist is joined shortly by the Band's commander and conductor, Col. Larry H. Lang, as well as a bassist and a handful of winds and strings who are each presented with their instrument by a member of the United States Air Force Honor Guard. The small group slowly turns into a mass of airmen musicians, each adding a new texture to the tune. From the balcony, two solo voices begin to float out over the crowds. They are joined by a host of singers lining the balcony railing. As "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" draws to a conclusion, the music changes. The tempo accelerates and as the key changes, a group of brass players in ceremonial uniforms sound a glorious fanfare from the balcony of the museum. This fanfare leads directly to a rousing rendition of "Joy to the World." The music fills the National Air and Space Museum and lights the faces of the audience members. At the conclusion of the performance, the final triumphant brass chord lingers in the museum long after the musicians have stopped playing. The audience erupts into applause.

Immediately following the performance, Colonel Lang wished spectators a happy holidays and invited them to come forward and meet the members of the band. Airmen musicians showed children their instruments, talked to tourists, and wished all a happy holiday season. One young talented girl even took a seat to play a tune on Senior Master Sgt. Eric Sabatino's harp. There was no denying it--the National Air and Space Museum was filled with the spirit of the season.
This isn't the only item about the USAF participating in the holidays.  KBPS brought it's readers NORAD Gearing Up To Track Santa Claus By Beth Ford Roth.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
For little ones awaiting Christmas, it may seem like FOREVER until Santa Claus begins his journey around the globe. But the folks at NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) have their Santa Tracker website up and running - with lots of games, music, and movies to keep the kiddies busy until the big day arrives.

The website is for Santa-believers all over the world, and is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Here's the video from Analytical Graphics: 2013 NORAD Tracks Santa.

Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) ( and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) are once again teaming up to track Santa's Christmas Eve trek across the globe. Beginning December 24 at 2:01 a.m. EST, visitors to the NORAD Tracks Santa® site, (, can use 2D and 3D tracking maps created by AGI to follow Santa on his annual present-delivery mission. The 3D Santa Tracker uses Cesium (, an open-source virtual globe founded by AGI, to provide an interactive experience that lets you pan and zoom around key stops on the journey.

In all uses, please courtesy "Video courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI)"
As a commenter wrote over at the NPR article on the band flash mob, "Yes, spend my taxes on tubas not tanks, drums not drones, bass instruments not bases, clarinets not clearances, and musical renditions not extraordinary renditions."

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