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Starting with a single cellist on the floor of the National Air and Space Museum's "Milestones of Flight" gallery, and swelling to 120 musicians, The U.S. Air Force Band exhilarated museum visitors with its second-ever flash mob. The four-minute performance featured an original arrangement of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring".

Visitors to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museumís Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, were delighted on December 2, 2014, when the U.S. Air Force band treated them to an unexpected holiday music flash mob.

USA Today reports that the visitors were at the museum for what they thought was a "special holiday kickoff event", but they got far more than they expected.

The Air Force Bandís surprise performance began with a single member of the band, Technical Sgt. Emily Snyder, playing "Greensleeves" on the English horn. She was soon joined by over 100 instrumentalists and vocalists who popped up throughout the crowd, creating a surround-sound performance of the classic Christmas carols, "What Child is This" and "Carol of the Bells" that delighted patrons throughout the museum.

Pulling off the flash mob wasnít easy, and the Air Force band began preparing their surprise in July. Senior Master Sgt. Robert Kamholtz, the superintendent of band marketing and outreach told Air Force Link that the first steps were finding a place and scheduling time in the bandís busy schedule. They then had to secure the rights to use the English lyrics for the songs they planned to perform. After that, they had to get official permission to arrange the music, perform it, then record and release the video of the performance.

The music was given to the band members to learn and practice on their own, and there were four rehearsals at the Air Force Bandís facility in Washington D.C., followed by a final rehearsal at the museum the night before the performance.

"There is an obvious tie between the Air Force and both of the Smithsonianís Air and Space Museums," Kamholtz said. "Weíve enjoyed partnering with them to demonstrate the U.S. Air Force Bandís commitment to upholding our mission in air, space, and cyberspace."

Encouraged by the success of their first holiday flash mob in 2013 which garnered nearly two million views on YouTube, the band created a video of the performance to spread the holiday spirit again.

"Weíre really excited to reach out to the internet community," said Master Sgt. William Hurd, a viola player. "Itís great to know that weíre able to reach people with an event like this."

There were several videos of this event from different angles within the hanger. You can see those by going to and searching for "Air Force Band Smithsonian".


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