MSGT Tillman Returns to Play With John Bapst High School Band

Updated 2 years ago

The John Bapst Memorial High School Band is used to getting applause but this time, they’re the ones giving the praise.”It’s a proud, prideful moment especially to get greeted like we do from the kids and everybody,” says deployed soldier David Miller.The band raised their instruments and played for troops headed to Afghanistan.”We should do this more often, I think everyone was very appreciative, the troops were appreciative and we definitely enjoyed seeing them.”It was a performance that hit all the high notes.”To see all of the smiles on the faces and hugs from strangers it’s an amazing thing to see,” said high school senior Rebecca Lethers.But the veteran who joined them is no stranger.Photographer: “Are these your fans?” Tillman: “No, they’re family.”Twenty years ago, Master Sergeant Kevin Tillman received this same welcome when he returned from Desert Storm.MSGT Tillman: “I went over and asked if I could play saxophone and he said sure and we were trying to keep up with what they were already playing.”Tillman may not have attended John Bapst, but he’s become an honorary crusader.Since his first performance, he’s shared the stage with generations on John Bapst band members bringing smiles and tears to troops that stop in Bangor as they make travel to and from overseas.”You’re definitely grateful for it, because every person has a time in their life where they’re questioning are we doing the right thing. We’re serving and this is the response, we’re doing the right thing,” said MSGT Tillman.It’s a lesson in life that Band Director Julie Ewing says can’t be taught in any classroom.”They totally get the respect and they’re always helping each other become better musicians. I’m a very lucky band director.”For the students the lesson is one they’ll remember for years to come.”Now when we’re thinking about the war we can think about the people who are there.”


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