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Sgt Beverly Parnell Washburn and her sousaphone in the first years of the WAF Band (above), and as assistant conductor (below).
Sgt Beverly Parnell Washburn and her sousaphone in the first years of the WAF Band (above), and as assistant conductor (below).

Potsdam woman celebrates military music milestone

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A Potsdam woman was one of the founding members of the Women's Air Force Band back in the early 1950's. Beverly Washburn was also the first female tuba player in an Air Force band and the ensemble's assistant conductor.

The WAF Band was organized in 1951 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Washburn was one of the first eighteen women musicians in the ensemble. In its ten-year lifespan, the group toured the country and marched in three presidential inaugurations.

As she prepared for the 60th reunion of the musicians in Arizona next week, Washburn spoke with Todd Moe about her tuba-toting military career.

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Reported by

Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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