A patriotic occasion
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Matthew Holmberg, a Tamaqua native, plays the tuba during the performance by the Air National Guard Band of the Mid-Atlantic.
The Air National Guard Band of the Mid-Atlantic (ANGMA) performed for an energetic crowd recently at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.
"Without a doubt, this was one of our most receptive audiences," said Master Sergeant Richard Fitz, who serves as First Sergeant for the band.
During the performance, aduience members would either stand, applaud or sing along to the songs played.
"I would describe the show as both amazing and emotional," said Leona Rega, coordinator, Tamaqua Community Arts Center. "We are extremely grateful for their performance."
"This event served as one of the best events at the center," said Tamaqua councilman Tom Cara. "Everyone really enjoyed it."
"It is fun to come play at home," said band member and Tamaqua native Matthew Holmberg, who has been with the ANGMA since 1998.
Some other bands Holmberg, a 1992 graduate of Tamaqua, has been a member of consisted of Tamaqua High School Raider Band, Tamaqua Salvation Army Band, 3rd Marine Air Craft Wing Band and 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Marine Band.
"It was great working together with everyone to make this event so special for everyone," said band member Tech Sergeant Jessica Chickock.
"Their performance brought tears to my eyes," said center volunteer Jack Kulp.
The band, now based out of Fort Indiantown Gap as part of the Regional Support Group to the 193rd Special Operations Wing, has experienced numerous name changes and reassignments over the years, more recently as the 553rd Air Force Band, Pennsylvania Air National Guard. In 2000, the band became known by its current name, reflecting its expanded geographic area of responsibility.
Culinary crew members of Tamaqua's Zion Lutheran Church also volunteered to serve a meal to all the band members prior to the concert.