MINOT AIR FORCE BASE RedBall, a local band comprised of 5th Bomb Wing-assigned members at Minot Air Force Base, has performed for events like the car show, Bronze Star presentation, commanders' calls, awards ceremonies and can perform for virtually any event on-base.
The band was first conceived in the summer of 2008 when Lt. Col. Patrick Ballard and Chief Master Sgt. Robert Wege, from the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, talked about their love of music and desires to form a band of musicians. It began as a fun extracurricular activity and it grew from there.
There are currently 11 airmen in the band, mostly composed of maintainers, but the number fluctuates due to deployments and members moving.
Staff Sgt. Heather Veldhouse, 5th Munitions Squadron custody account manager and vocalist for RedBall, relayed how proud she is of the band.
"We are proud of our group and proud of the Air Force," said Veldhouse. "It's great to know we can wear our uniform and still jam out, but we are also professionals because we take our jobs seriously."
The band started out playing classic rock music, but began to play more contemporary music as younger people were integrated into the band. As long as there is motivation amongst the members to play a new song, the band will do it.
"It is pretty cool because anybody can bring anything to the table and nothing will get shut down," Veldhouse said.
Many of the members of the band, which include bassists, drummers, lead guitarists, a vocalist and even the occasional tambourine player, were in bands before joining the Air Force.
"It is something we took seriously as a profession, however we decided to join the military and that became our number one commitment and number one job," said Veldhouse.
As airmen, the members of the band know that although the goal of the band is to have fun, they must still maintain a professional image whenever playing because they represent the Air Force.
The band boosts morale while providing a great outlet for stress and allows for airmen to meet each other who would not have had the chance to do otherwise.
"RedBall is a resiliency initiative, albeit a loud one," said Lt. Col. David Kunick, 5th Munitions Squadron commander and band member. "The band gives musicians of varying skill levels and from many backgrounds an outlet here at Minot AFB."
"It also provides commanders an entertainment option for various group and wing events," Kunick added.
So far, the band has only played gigs on base. Their next show was scheduled for Jan. 25 at Dock 1 for the Maintenance Professional of the Year banquet. However, they are open to performing in the city of Minot if given the opportunity.
The band does not have trouble getting together to practice and enjoys performing for their fellow airmen the most.
"Where else can maintainers enjoy a rock show during their group commander's call?" said Kunick.
"It's a chance to get together and jam out in a stress free environment," Veldhouse added.
Kunick also wanted to thank the base leadership for the support of the musicians in the band.
"Our senior leaders at Minot have really done a lot for this group," he said. "Thank you for doing this!"
"The leadership support for this has been incredible," he added. "And the musicians I've had the pleasure of playing with here are world class!"