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Air Force show group to perform

Broadway music lovers will be flying high today when the U.S. Air Force Band's Premier Show Group, High Flight, performs.

Master Sergeant Paul Eschilman has been a singer with the Air Force Band since 1986 and said High Flight performs for a combination of military and civilian audiences, often tagging on extra shows when it tours. The group's Hernando County performance is in conjunction with a trip to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

"Performing for the civilian sector is a treat for us," Eschilman said. "The crowds are different, often more open and responsive."

The nine-member ensemble will give two concerts as part of the Community Performing Arts Guild's entertainment season. High Flight performs pop, rock, jazz, Broadway and country music, focusing on the evolution of American popular song through the past five decades.

High Flight promises an hour and a half of popular music for its Hernando County audiences in shows that will highlight older Broadway tunes from Oklahoma!, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon. The concerts conclude with a patriotic tribute including God Bless the USA and America the Beautiful.

The shows, although tailored for each audience, all include sophisticated vocals, stylistic choreography, impressive costumes and unique instrumental accompaniment, Eschilman said.

"We love to perform for retired military audiences," said Eschilman, who anticipates a large veteran contingent at the shows. "This show will be somewhat tailored for that group."

Five singers and a four-piece band make up High Flight, which was formed in 1990.

"This started as a rock band that had to be able to do more than just rock 'n' roll," Eschilman said. "We appeal to a wider range of audiences."

Stationed at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C., the group travels extensively. All non-commissioned officers, Eschilman said the performers are auditioned from Air Force members.

"Everyone here has a different story of how they got involved," said Eschilman, who joined the Air Force Band after he completed basic training. "It's a great job."

The Community Performing Arts Guild will present High Flight at 3 and 7 p.m. today at Mariner United Methodist Church, 7079 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill. Free tickets for the concerts have been distributed. For availability, call 683-0619.

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