The Culver Academies Jazz Ensemble will host Senior Airman Mark Oates at its Sunday, Feb. 24, concert in Eppley Auditorium. The concert will begin at 2:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Oates will also work with the instrumental music students on Friday, Feb. 22, during rehearsals and clinics. Oates and ensemble director Steve Rozek became friends while working together in the United States Air Force, establishing the connection for his visit.
“I am excited to work with the kids,” Oates said via email. “The USAF Band’s mission includes recruiting/community outreach. This is a great chance for me to do our mission as well as partner with a great friend.”
Oates is from the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band based at Langley Air Force Base. He is the music director and lead trumpet player for the Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble. Oates entered the Air Force in November 2011 and was assigned to the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. In 2012, he performed with “Tour for the Troops,” entertaining thousands of active duty and reserve airmen and their families.
A graduate of James Madison University, he spent time touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Timmy Dorsey Orchestra, and the Russ Morgan Orchestra. He was a regular performer at Disney and Busch Gardens theme parks, and worked for various cruise lines. He also was the lead trumpet for the national tour of “Miss Saigon” in 2001.
Oates has been awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Honor Graduate Ribbon, and Air Force Training Ribbon.