Warner Robins to honor Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve

efarlow@macon.comJune 18, 2013 

Hometown_Heros

Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen and Sebie Lacy of the band Stillwater share a laugh after a news conference Tuesday at City Hall, where the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve -- based in Warner Robins since 1961 -- was praised. Warner Robins and local concerns are sponsoring this year’s Independence Day Concert that will include entertainment from Warner Robins native Bobbie Eakes, right, and Stillwater.

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WARNER ROBINS -- Actress and singer Bobbie Eakes sang with the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve for the first time when she was a student at Warner Robins High School.

“I was about 16 or 17 years old when the Air Force Reserve band came to my high school,” she said at a news conference Tuesday at City Hall.

Since then, Eakes has sung with the band many times and will do so again for the last time with the band’s rock ensemble Reserve Generation at the 31st Annual Independence Day Celebration in Warner Robins on July 3.

At the end of September, the band will disband due to federal budget cuts.

The Independence Day Celebration this year is about giving back to the Air Force Reserve band and thanking them for what they have meant to the Warner Robins community, said Mayor Chuck Shaheen.

Robins Air Force Base was unable to sponsor the celebration this year because of sequestration, so the city and other organizations stepped in as sponsors.

“We felt we had to be part of it,” said Jim Taylor, business development manager at Warner Robins Supply Co. Warner Robins Supply Co. is sponsoring the celebration along with the city of Warner Robins, the Houston Home Journal, Cox Communications, Robins Federal Credit Union, Flint Energies and other businesses.

Along with Eakes and the Air Force Reserve band, the local Southern rock band Stillwater will perform at the Independence Day Celebration.

“We’re honored to be a part of it,” said Stillwater band member Sebie Lacey. “When (the Air Force Reserve Band) would go to the elementary schools, they touched people’s lives.”

Maj. Gen. Craig Gourley said the Independence Day Celebration would be the Reserve band’s final encore performance. In September, band members will move on to other places.

At the end of the celebration, the longest fireworks show in the event’s history will feature a sound track of songs by the Reserve band.

The Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve is the oldest band in the Air Force and has been active for 70 years. The band earned a regional Emmy Award nomination and has performed all over the world.

The Independence Day Celebration will be at the McConnell-Talbert Stadium. Gates open at 6 p.m.

To contact writer Emily Farlow, call 744-4225.

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