The U.S. Air Force band Top Cover was in Homer this week and one of the group’s shows was at Homer Middle School.
Linda Rourke is a guidance counselor at Homer Middle School and the reason the band was in town.
“I was inspired by a Wynona Judd concert on the Elmendorf Air Force base in 2009 where some of these guys opened for Wynona Judd. They’ve been coming to Homer Middle School almost every year since then,” Rourke said.
Top Cover consists of two vocalists: Staff Sergeant Natalie Madison-Rascoe and Technical Sergeant Clint Whitney, who also plays guitar. Senior Master Sergeant Michael Williams is on the keys. Senior Airman Jordan Kimble plays the bass. Technical Sergeant Dennis Pack is the second guitarist and Staff Sergeant Michael Henrie plays the drums.
The majority of the tunes the band plays are covers of pop songs. And Senior Master Sergeant Williams said they cover the musical gamut.
“We’re gonna perform music for kids of all ages… from 8 to 850. We’re going to play a wide variety of music, everything from The Beatles to some country music,” he said.
Each of the members has their own story of how they joined the Air Force band. Senior Airman Kimble was working on a cruise ship when he decided he wanted steady work. Staff Sergeant Henrie was teaching percussion at a college and playing in the house band for the Wayne Brady Show. Staff Sergeant Madison-Rascoe said she was trying to make her way on Broadway.
“I joined. I auditioned. It’s a very hard process to audition. You have to be the right fit. Not every singer or every musician can do this job. You really have to be adaptable, be able to work with all types of people with all types of backgrounds,” she said.
“Being in the Air Force means you often go into situations where you may or may not know the people you’re going to be playing with. So luckily we’re all professional musicians. We pick up and go wherever we come in and we get the product up and running, and then we’re ready to go very soon after that,” Technical Sergeant Pack said.
The band also will hold a clinic with the Homer High School Band and performing for students. A free community concert is set for Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Mariner Theatre.