WRAL.com at the State Fair

Rocking and Swinging on Armed Forces Appreciation Day

Posted October 19, 2007 7:21 a.m. EDT

There was a whole lot of music going on at the Fair last Wednesday, as bands for the US Armed Forces rocked, swung, and even marching band'd the entire fairgrounds throughout the day.

It started at 9am with the 440th Army Band, which played a variety of marches and other upbeat music. (And something that I'm pretty sure was the theme song from "The Muppet Show".) The band normally has 47 members, but the band playing at the Fair was a "Ceremonial Band" of far fewer members, which plays for the troops arriving from and leaving to overseas. (Since 9/11 the band has performed at over 200 ceremonies.)

This year the bands were placed on the Waterfall Stage, which is far, far better than where they were last year (bumped up against the side of Dorton Arena after the Grandstand area got waterlogged.) But I still almost missed the Blue Aces, the Air Force rock band. The sign on the side of the stage said they were playing at 3pm, but they actually started at 2:30. Good thing I like to show up early for a good seat.

The band rocked with a variety of cover songs and -- different this year -- some original tunes including "Do Something Amazing" and the funky "Standing on Solid Ground". The band is working on an album which should be available around December or January. It'll also be available online for free, according to the band. Keep an eye on the band's home page at HeritageofAmericaBand.af.mil for more details.

A couple hours later the Navy's Country Current band took the stage, playing some country (Tennessee Waltz) and not-so-country (Brown-Eyed Girl) music with a definite swing. A big crowd enjoyed the music, and it was a lot cooler and sitting in front of the stage didn't mean sitting in direct sunlight. The group has a Web site, with a few recordings available, at http://www.navyband.navy.mil/countrycurrent.shtml .

Anyone who paid to get in the Fair Wednesday had the chance to get more than their money's worth of music! I just hope next year it's not quite as hot. Shade was in short supply...