Sousa Archives Acquires the Records of the 505th Air Force Band of the Midwest

As 2015 was quickly winding down last month the Center acquired five cubic feet of administrative histories and records, photographs, correspondence, concert programs, news clippings, sound recordings, awards, and memorabilia documenting the musical legacy of Rantoul, Illinois’ Chanute Air Force Band between 1963 and 1985. The Chanute Air Force Band was established on September 9, 1941 and following the Air Force’s 1977 military band reduction order, the ensemble was eventually decommissioned in 1986.  This military band was originally referred to as the Air Force Band of Chanute Field, but was later called the Air Force Band of the Midwest.  For those individuals who are not familiar with the 505th Air Force Band which included a concert band, brass quartet, jazz band, and a rock band, Mike Lyons introduced his readers to this military ensemble in his  ca. 1979 newspaper article, Air Force band can really rock it, by stating, “Put your B-1 bombers, F-16 fighters, and swing-wing F-111’s back in the hangar.  Some of the best ‘flying’ in today’s Air Force is done by the 505th Air Force Band, stationed at Chanute Technical Training Center in Rantoul.”  Throughout the ensemble’s tenure, the band performed for hundreds of Midwest community festivals, parades, school assemblies, educational programs, and concerts to highlight through music the Air Force’s contributions to the country in times of both war and peace.   The Sousa Archives staff are expected to complete the arrangement and description of this exciting new collection later this spring.

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