U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Vortex band holds concert at DCHS


Kaylee P.

Principal Cortney Couch joins Sergeant Rebecca Packard on the gym floor to sing along with the band. Vortex performed for the school on Monday, Feb. 9.

Kaylee P.

The United States Air Force Heartland of America Vortex band traveled to David City High School to offer a clinic for middle and high school music students and hold a music concert for the student body on Monday, Feb. 9.

Vortex entertained the school with music such as Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Katy Perry’s “Roar.” The band consists of 15 members who travel to perform for schools and communities. All members of the band are enlisted officers in the Air Force with the mission of bringing music and messages from home to soldiers. The 15 members form groups that travel and spread music to help heal and lift spirits.

“Right after 9/11 we did a concert for a community, and it was probably the most moving concert we’ve ever done,” lead singer, Technical Sergeant Rebecca Packard said. “It was an opportunity to bring music that would help people heal from the atrocity that happened, help the community get back on its feet, help it heal.”

While Vortex was at the school, the band held a clinic for music students. During the clinic, students learned about the effort and practice it takes to be a professional musician. Students also talked to the musicians about their have successful musical careers.

“It was an opportunity we couldn’t have passed up. It was unique [and] something special,” music director Joe Albright said. “It was a good opportunity for our music students to see professional musicians and let everyone know there are other careers in the military than a fighter.”

During the performance the DCHS band encouraged students to stand and dance. Even Principal Cortney Couch joined the dancing when Packard brought him onto the gym floor. The choir joined Vortex to sing along to Lorde’s “Royals.” Packard was joined again by senior Alvaro M. for Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

Being at a school was not new for Packard.  Before singing for students and communities, Packard spent time as a drama teacher. However, Packard said she missed music.

“I have always loved to perform. I was teaching high school and I loved my students, but I missed music,” Packard said. “When the opportunity to audition for the Air Force band came up, I took it and have loved it ever since.”

Packard has been a member of Vortex for 14 years along with being an airman. Members of Vortex are airmen who can still be deployed.

Vortex wants to continue to bring music and messages from home, not only to communities and students, but also to soldiers. They hope to continue to recognize veterans and show support for high school music programs.