PLATTSMOUTH – Area residents heard an array of soaring songs Saturday night from a prestigious United States Air Force band.
An estimated 200 people came to downtown Plattsmouth to listen to “Raptor” perform at the Plattsmouth Entertainment Plaza. The group is the commercial music ensemble of the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band. Members of Raptor are stationed at Offutt Air Force Base and travel across the country to share their musical talents.
Plattsmouth Main Street Association (PMSA) Executive Director Charles Jones said he was excited to have the group return to Plattsmouth for the show. PMSA officials have sponsored several Raptor concerts in previous years and Jones has created a working relationship with the ensemble. That allowed the organization to secure a spot on Raptor’s schedule this summer.
“They tour across an eight-state area and are very much in demand,” Jones said. “We’re fortunate to be able to have them come to town for this performance.”
Residents were able to enjoy sunny skies for the 75-minute concert, which featured songs ranging from rock-and-roll classics to patriotic favorites. That was a vivid contrast from rainy weather that moved across the area Saturday morning. Jones said he stayed up until midnight on Friday intently watching weather forecasts. His concerns began to dissipate after meteorologists said skies would clear up by mid-afternoon.
Saturday night’s concert included six experienced musicians. Master Sergeant Rebecca Packard and Airman First Class Aliyah Richling provided vocals, Technical Sergeant Jarrett Robinett played percussion, Technical Sergeant Marshall Gentry performed on piano and keyboard, Staff Sergeant Alberto Rosado-Perez played electric guitar and Technical Sergeant Anthony Schmaus performed on bass guitar.
Packard is one of the most experienced members of the band. The Missouri native began her military career at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia and later spent seven years singing at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. She was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan in April 2008 and entertained troops stationed in those countries.
Packard served in the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific in Japan until 2011. She was assigned to Offutt Air Force Base after that and has traveled across the Midwest ever since. She was promoted to Master Sergeant in August 2017.
Gentry also appeared on stage with a lengthy resume. He began performing in the USAF Band of the Golden West in 1999 and was later stationed at Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. He began touring with groups at Offutt Air Force Base in August 2014 and has earned multiple honors. He received the USAF Airman Bandsman of the Year Award in 2003 and the Band of the Pacific-Asia Band Airman of the Year honor in 2004.
Schmaus and Robinett both came to Plattsmouth with multiple years of experience. Robinett played with the USAF Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base from 2001-11 and has been at Offutt Air Force Base since then. He has performed for several United States presidents and vice presidents and has played in front of national broadcast audiences.
Schmaus began performing with the USAF Heartland of America Band in 2002. He played in Japan for four years and has earned multiple military medals. He currently serves as music director for Raptor.
Richling and Rosado-Perez are the newest members of the band. Richling graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 2011 and earned a master’s degree in voice performance from Wichita State in 2013.
Rosado-Perez previously played in the USAF Central Command Band. He has performed in multiple venues across the world during his time in the Air Force.