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Band of Mid-America features local musician

Airman 1st Class Chris Haughey, a bassist for the Air Force's Band of Mid-America at Scott, prepares for the holiday concert, "Together for the Holidays Dec. 9 at St. Louis Scottish Rite.  Haughey grew up in St. Louis and has been at Scott since Aug. 2011.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)

Airman 1st Class Chris Haughey, a bassist for the Air Force's Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., prepares for the holiday concert, "Together for the Holidays Dec. 9, 2012 at Scottish Rite in St. Louis, Mo. Haughey grew up in St. Louis and has been at Scott AFB since Aug. 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)

Scott Air Force Base, Ill. -- "It is an incredible feeling to be able to play music and represent the Air Force where I grew up," said St. Louis native, Airman 1st Class Chris Haughey, a bassist for Air Force's Band of Mid-America stationed at Scott Air Force Base since 2011.

"I would be honored to represent the Air Force anywhere, but it does make it more special to be near home. My parents still live in the area. There are friends, teachers and colleagues here who have supported my musical growth from the beginning who now get to see how all of the practicing and hard work has paid off."

That hard work started when he began playing at a young age.

"I started with piano lessons at age five, and continued until I was 15," the musician said. "When I was nine, I started the Suzuki violin class offered at my elementary school. I took that class for one year before I had the chance to play a different instrument. I wanted to see if I could play the bass. The orchestra teacher picked only two students to play the bass--I was chosen."

After high school, Haughey was accepted to The Juilliard School in and graduated in 2005. He then completed his Master's degree in music performance and earned a Doctorate at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Juilliard is a private school in New York City that trains students in music, drama and
dance. Admittance into the school is highly competitive. Juilliard alumni accolades include 105 Grammy Awards, 62 Tony Awards, 47 Emmy Awards, 24 Academy Awards, 16 Pulitzer Prizes, and 12 National Medals for the Arts.

Haughey said that during the summer of 2010, he found out about a vacancy in the Air Force Band of Mid-America.

"At the time, I didn't know much about Air Force bands, so I did a little research and found that the mission of the band, musically, was exactly what I was looking to do," he said.
He auditioned with the band in October 2010 and went to Basic Military Training the following June. He arrived at Scott in August 2011.

Although he has only been in the Air Force for a 1 ½ years, he has already had many memorable experiences.

"I have played for and had interaction with many civic and military leaders, holocaust survivors and veterans from wars dating back to World War II," Haughey said. "I am fortunate to have met so many wonderful people and heard some incredible stories."

One encounter with a veteran stands out in his mind.

"A veteran from World War II attended a Shades of Blue performance," he said. "We invited him on the stage after our show to meet the members of the band. I remember shaking his hand and humbly thanking him for his service to our country. He smiled and quickly thanked me for my service.

"I will always remember that moment--feeling like we, as a band, could make such a difference to a hero like that."

Haughey has left an impression on his band mates, too.

"A1C Haughey has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to our career field, said Tech. Sgt. Keisha Gwin-Goodin, a vocalist with the band. "He's a fine musician who received training from two of the best music schools in the nation."

Haughey said he doesn't know what the future holds for him or his career.

"For now, I can't imagine doing anything else. I am so lucky to do what I do, and to have incredible colleagues pushing me and motivating me day after day."