Wednesday, October 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The Blue Yonders take music to deployed service members

blue yonders perform

The Blue Yonders perform in an undisclosed location in Asia. (USAF Courtesy Photo)

By
From page A3 | January 16, 2014 |

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — The high point of vocalist and flutist Master Sgt. Sherry Burt’s tour with the band The Blue Yonders in Southwest Asia was at an International School for a room full of children.

“Some of the kids came up on stage and danced with us,” said Burt.

For guitarist and bass player Staff Sgt. Jonathan Biccum, it was performing at a small forward operating base somewhere in Afghanistan where the audience was continually reinforced by soldiers just coming back from missions outside the wire.

The Blue Yonders’ seven members spent almost four months on the road in Southwest Asia, performing 65 shows in nine countries in gigs ranging from formal receptions in U.S. embassies and missions for orphans to stages made out of pallets at forward bases in Afghanistan and aircraft hangars in what members refer to only as “undisclosed locations.”

“We really liked it. It surpassed all our expectations,” said the group’s musical director, Staff Sgt. Paul Wells.

“It was awesome for me to be over there and to see the work being done,” Burt said. “We are proud to be able to serve them.”

The Blue Yonders came together in early 2013 to offer a mix of traditional and not-so-traditional Irish and bluegrass music, with pop, country and modern rock mixed in.

Inspired by the increasing popularity of Irish music in pop culture brought about by groups such as Flogging Molly, the group gives the public another opportunity to enjoy the musicians who are part of the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, of which The Blue Yonders is a part.

The group packed their bags and left Travis on Aug. 12 to first take courses to prepare them for deployment that included a combat skills course in Texas, before heading overseas.

With a wide range of audiences, the group had to put together a playlist of music that had to run the gamut from music for children to adult service members.

What pleasantly surprised them the most was all the musical talent they encountered at airfields and forward operating bases that included a mandolin player with the 1st Cavalry Division to an aircraft maintainer “who had a real nice country baritone voice and was a good guitar player,” Wells said.

More than a few of those they played for showed themselves talented enough in informal after-performance jams to be invited back the next night to perform with The Blue Yonders. That added a very welcome additional dimension to the group, members said.

“They would also take us out to show us what they do,” said Biccum, who said it gave him a better appreciation for how fellow service members are serving their country.

Vocalist and accordian player Staff Sgt. Brandon May said the group was proud to give their military audience a much-deserved break from their work.

“One guy who came up after the show told me, ‘You turned a bad day into a good night’,” said audio engineer Staff Sgt. Lou Kohley.

In addition to Biccum, Burt, Wells, May and Kohley, The Blue Yonders also included Senior Airman Meg May and Airman 1st Class Ben Johnson.

The Blue Yonders are next expecting to perform on tour in February with the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West and then put on several local shows in this area in March, one of which will be performing in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day.

For more information about The Blue Yonders and the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, go to www.bandofthegoldenwest.af.mil/events/index.asp or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bandofthegoldenwest.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Robert BarnesJanuary 17, 2014 - 12:49 pm

    I would like to share an article about our recent band that deployed, however the twitter link isn't functioning (the facebook link seems to be working properly) and it appears there have been over 500 twitter shares. Thanks for any suggestions you can offer to correct this issue.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 35 Comments | Gallery

 
Logue wins US Chamber of Commerce support

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 1 Comment | Gallery

Car washes raising money to fight breast cancer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield Police Department promotes 2, honors 1

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Families Helping Families preps for holidays

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Charity Tree Auction application deadline nears

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Tots can trick-or-treat at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
2 new challenges part of 2014 Solano Turkey Trot

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Suisun council splits on housing element changes

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

$1.4M land sale by Fairfield gets OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

 
Solano names new First 5 director

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

Action, thriller movies headed to box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
FBI: Denver girls may have tried to join jihadis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
7 arrested in Oakland raid on Black Muslim Temple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Stinky seaweed piling up at upscale Laguna Beach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
California man goes missing during road trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

2nd guilty plea in California tainted beef case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Golden Gate Bridge officials float sidewalk toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

5 Jonestown victims buried in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Pakistani Nobel laureate honored in Philadelphia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Cadaver dog searches in suspected serial killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Schools scoured in search for ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Freed Vietnamese dissident travels to US: official

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

North Korea frees US man; 2 more still detained

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Brown meets with health care experts about Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

US expands Ebola checks; Rwanda to check Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Opinion

Expect voter participation to drop

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 

PUC chief: Likely 1st test for new Brown term

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons: Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 11 Comments

Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Is it OK for a business to use its contacts to raise money for a charity?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

Hummus and chocolate together? Deliciously so!

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Easy slow cooker chili that lives up to the hype

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Roasted beets can brighten up any holiday table

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Argentina demands ‘Top Gear’ apology from BBC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ fans push for Coulson/May romance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
From Kors to DVF, fashion mourns de la Renta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

Local report: Vikings earn 3-0 SCAC volleyball win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SJS releases season’s first wins list

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bumgarner, Giants stop Royals 7-1 in Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bruins hold off Sharks to win 5-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Logano: No worries about retaliation from Patrick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Fighters suing Mayweather over Vegas cable TV bout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
For a young Mexican golf star, seeing helps him believe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shaw shoulders blame for Stanford’s slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Newman dodges penalty for Talladega inspection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WS Game 2 starters Ventura, Peavy study in contrasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hats off! Royals get old-timey with tip o’ the hat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

KC, San Fran mayors announce World Series wager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Buster’s back: Posey tries to add 3rd Series ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kings GM: NHL should educate after Voynov’s arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Broncos are still No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius gets 5 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

New efforts to ban tobacco farm child labor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Total CEO killed in Moscow runway crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Google’s streaming music service adds mood to mix

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

5 problems McDonald’s is facing in the US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Rufina Ferrer Levengood

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6