Air Force career gigs sound sweet

By Janet Bresenham

For 19 years, Scott Webring has lived a life he considers a musician’s dream. He performs in a band, gets paid for doing what he loves and enjoys a career full of steady gigs.
All while serving his country as a master sergeant with the U.S. Air Force band “Pegasus,” a division of the military’s 68-member Band of the Rockies stationed with the Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Most of us have degrees in music,” said Webring, the group’s leader who plays bass guitar and sings. “This is a full-time gig. The Air Force holds auditions for spots. Then, once you’re in the band, you can make a career of it.”
Tech Sgt. Christopher Gaona, the band’s drummer, said the Band of the Rockies also includes a group that plays Big Band music, a country band and a rock band.
The 10-member band Pegasus has been together about a year playing rhythm and blues, swing and classic rock with a horn section, keyboards, bass, lead guitar, drums and several singers.
“Especially with the horns, it’s sort of like a David Letterman show band,” Webring said.
The band played in “Salute to Our Troops: A Homecoming Celebration” at Greene Acres Park Saturday evening in Clovis.
“This is fabulous,” Webring said. “The support for the military here is unbelievable. We were tickled to death to be able to be here.”
Col. “Rowdy” Yates, commander of the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, and his wife Barb were among the audience members enjoying Pegasus’ performance of classics such as “Mustang Sally,” “At Last,” “My Girl” and even the Travis Tritt song “T-R-O-U-B-L-E.”
“The people in this band are phenomenal,” Yates said. “I think it’s really cool that somebody in a leadership position in the Air Force thought it was so important to take people out to do this because everyone understands what a morale-booster it is.”
Master Sgt. John Teamer, the band’s lead singer, got the audience on its feet and dancing as he launched into “You Make Me Wanna Shout.”
“There’s nothing like doing something you love and getting paid for it,” Teamer said. “It’s a great assignment. We love doing this. One of the things I love about this band is that most people who hear us are blown away when they find out about the musical potential.”
Teamer has performed with Air Force bands for 15 years, including more than eight years with the Air Force Band of the Rockies, a premier unit that offers a permanent assignment.
Saxophonist and Senior Master Sgt. Martel Sarlette has been with the Band of the Rockies for 16 years.
“I went to college for music performance,” said Sarlette, who has played sax since he was in the fifth grade. “I didn’t want to be an educator; I wanted to be a performer. This sounded like a great opportunity and a steady job as a musician. To be able to do that while serving the country is awesome. It was tailor-made for me.”