US Air Force Band Debuts Song at Free Concert Honoring Japanese-American Vets

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Despite facing prejudice, mistrust and the internment of their families back home, they served overseas with honor and distinction. They were the Japanese-American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442 Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service, who comprised about 14,000 soldiers during World War II. For the first time on May 18 the song “A Legacy of Valor” will be performed in their honor as part of a free concert by the US Air Force Band of the Golden West Concert Band at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach.

Other songs performed by the 40 members of the USAF Band will include American standards and patriotic tunes.

“A Legacy of Valor” tells the story of the Japanese-American soldiers of WWII with both music and video interviews of the soldiers themselves from the Hanashi Oral Histories project, provided by the Go For Broke National Education Center in Torrance, California.

Those soldiers made up the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in U.S. military history, according to Go for Broke. Collectively, according to their records, the soldiers were awarded 21 Medals of Honor, eight Presidential Unit Citations and 9,486 Purple Hearts, in addition to 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars and 4,000 Bronze Stars.

USAF Tech Sgt. Scott Wise, who composed “A Legacy of Valor,” serves as arranger for the USAF Band of the Golden West Concert Band. While stationed at Yakota Air Base, Japan, Wise formerly served as arranger for the USAF Band of the Pacific – Asia from 2006 to 2007.

The concert will be made up of two 45-minute acts separated by a 15-minute intermission.

Musicians will greet patrons in the Carpenter Center lobby following the performance.

This event is offered free of charge through the Community Connections component of the Carpenter Center’s Arts for Life initiative, which along with Classroom Connections and Campus Connections provides a bridge to the arts through interactive programs. Arts for Life is supported through donations.

Through Community Connections, Long Beach residents read Shakespeare, watch newly released documentary films, attend lectures about artists and enjoy free concerts with professional musicians. When professional artists and scholars perform at the Carpenter Center, Campus Connections links them directly to CSULB faculty and students to enhance curriculum and expand student appreciation of the arts. In addition, more than 3,000 local school children enjoy a full arts experience each year through Classroom Connections, now in its 17th year.

In addition to performing for civilian communities throughout seven western states, the USAF Band of the Golden West supports 13 Air Force bases, eight Air Force reserve wings and six recruiting squadrons in over 250 annual performances for 1.5 million listeners.

Tickets are required for this free event. To reserve tickets and for more information, visit CarpenterArts.org/free or call the Carpenter Center Ticket Office at (562) 985-7000. This event is made possible in part by Season Media Partner KPCC 89.3-FM.

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