MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – After 15 years of service and sweet music, Senior Master Sergeant Bill Granger took the stage for one final selection.
On Saturday, the Band of U.S. Air Force Reserve performed its last public show with the Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra. Granger, a concert band tuba player, spent his final show playing alongside his daughter.
"We put down some deep roots in Middle Georgia and we're going to miss the friends and acquaintances and the support we have," Granger said.
Since 1941, the band, based at Robins Air Force Base, has served as one of the oldest ensembles assigned to the Air Force. It's the only military band in the history of the Department of Defense to earn an Emmy nomination and is a fixture at parades and ceremonies across Middle Georgia and around the world. An estimated 15,000 were at last year's Fourth of July concert to see the group's final Independence Day performance.
Last year, the Air Force announced a massive restructuring and downsizing plan including major cuts to military music, bringing the band to an end.
"It's difficult and bittersweet," said First Lieutenant Thomas Gamboa, Band of the United States Air Force conductor.
The men and women in the band will be reassigned to other military bands, where they will continue to serve the country and play.