American Patriots band to host benefit concert Aug. 3
By Anthony Welch
Doyle Combs, producer/conductor for the American Patriots Big Band and Jazz Orchestra, is all about triggering happy memories for audience members while igniting a spirit of patriotism and supporting our veterans.
“Once we started playing this music, it brings back memories and lightens their spirit,” Combs said.
The American Patriots Big Band, which features former and active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, will perform a benefit show for the Peak Military Care Network on Aug. 3 at the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada. Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert are $32.50.
“(Peak Military Care Network) services hundreds of veterans and their families,” Combs added.
Combs, who produced the band’s Big Band Gospel Music Show back in May, said the August concert will feature music of the 40s, 50s and 60s. As the band always does, there also will be a salute to veterans and well as a salute to the country. That will include songs such as music “God Bless America,” “Stars and Stripes” and “America the Beautiful.”
“We don’t want to just play for people. We want to play to people and remind them how great our country is and how great our musical heritage is,” Combs added.
He and director Steve Harget have a pool of around 25 musicians to pull from to put together the 17-piece band. Harget and Combs have worked together for more than 20 years. Both have been musicians since their youth.
“I started when I was 7 years old. I haven’t stopped yet,” said Harget, who plays clarinet and saxophone.
While in high school, Harget was featured on the network television show Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour. Harget retired from the Air Force Academy Band in 1984.
Though he’s more into producing/conducting these days, Combs is a trombonist.
“I worked my way through college that way. Now I serve as a producer,” Combs said. “It’s easier to hire these guys. Most of them are former military. They are the cream of the crop.”
Combs and Harget are proud of the top-notch musicians they have in the group. The musicians are mostly assigned to the Air Force Academy Band and also work with the Falconairs, the sister organization to the world famous Airmen of Note in Washington D.C. The band and vocalists have performed with such artists as the Temptations, The Four Freshmen, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Wayne Newton, Sarah Vaughn, Mel Torme, The Jimmy Dorsey Band, Doc Severinsen, Louis Belson and Bob Hope.
Combs has conducted more than 5,000 public performances in his career. He has performed professionally throughout the U.S., Mexico and Europe opening for Les Paul and Mary Ford, the Statler Brothers and “Hee Haw” comedian Grady Nutt. He’s also worked with Christian artists Bill and Gloria Gaither, Sandi Patty, First Call and TRUTH.
He initially formed the American Patriots Big Band in 2014, however a shoulder injury sidelined the project. It got going, full-steam, just last year.
Looking ahead, Combs has a goal to pull together sponsors and take the band to smaller communities, such as cities with populations of 25,000 or fewer. He’d like to be able to host free shows in those communities and keep the patriotic spirit alive.
“We want to lighten their spirit with one of the finest bands in the country,” he said. “The time is right for that in our country. That’s what we would really like to do.”