Thursday night at the IWBC 2019 Conference brought a performance by the Athena Brass Band, a group of all-female brass band performers from across the United States, under the direction of Jessica Sneeringer. The Athena Brass Band was founded in 2003 and has since made appearances at each IWBC Conference, as well as performing at the brass band festivals in Danville, Kentucky, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Soloing with Athena were Joanna Ross Hersey, performing Flight, by Peter Meechan, composed in honor of women pilots who served both the American and Allied Forces during the Second World War. The Moreau VanTuinen Duo performed Concerto Grosso by Etienne Crausaz, and the band wowed the audience with Lucy Pankhurst’s 3-Minute Warning, in addition to Rest, by Frank Ticheli, and Philip Sparke’s Year of the Dragon.
Athena’s concert also featured acknowledgement of the military service present in the members of the band, as well as of IWBC members as a whole. Within Athena’s ranks that night were five military service band veterans, representing the United States Army and the United Stated Coast Guard. As a surprise to Athena founder, Sergeant Major Laura Lineberger, playing in the baritone section, band members arranged a visit from Quilts of Honor. Founded by Army Band veterans, Quilts of Honor runs a volunteer network of quilters, who, as an offering of solace, present quilts to veterans in acknowledgement of their service. Trumpeter Gail Belmont and her team presented each of the service women in Athena with a handmade quilt, each one specially created for each player, featuring symbols of their home state and branch of service.
Quilts of Honor presented USCG veteran Joanna Ross Hersey, BBb bass, with a quilt at a previous occasion, thus starting a fine tradition. Receiving quilts at IWBC were Sidonie McCray and Julie Angelis-Boehler in the percussion section, Laura Lineberger playing baritone, and Kirsten Lies-Warfield, trombone, all representing the United States Army.