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8th SWS creates ceremonial singing group

From left, Capt. Jason Parsons, Maj. Sarah Ford, Tech. Sgt. Jeff Achuff and Senior Airman James Baumgartner, all members of the 8th Space Warning Squadron singing group, perform at the Senior NCO Induction Ceremony Aug. 22, 2014, at the Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club in Aurora, Colo. The group comprises 8th Space Warning Squadron members who perform the national anthem and other songs for military events and ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

From left, Capt. Jason Parsons, Maj. Sarah Ford, Tech. Sgt. Jeff Achuff and Senior Airman James Baumgartner, all members of the 8th Space Warning Squadron singing group, perform at the Senior NCO Induction Ceremony Aug. 22, 2014, at the Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club in Aurora, Colo. The group comprises 8th Space Warning Squadron members who perform the national anthem and other songs for military events and ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Members of the 8th Space Warning Squadron assembled a nine-member singing group that performs the national anthem and other songs for military events and ceremonies.

The squadron saw a need for a group of singers who could perform when there would either be technical issues or a need for more personality when songs are played at the beginning of celebrations.

Capt. Jason Parsons, 8th SWS Space-Based Infrared System crew commander, came up with the idea to start a singing group so ceremonies would have an added personal touch. As reservists, the 8th SWS only meets together once a month, usually participating in promotions, retirements or other ceremonies for the unit to recognize.

"In many ways, 8th SWS is like an extended family, and our drill weekends are like family reunions," Parsons said. "It's great to be able to come together as people who just love singing and support the members of the unit during important moments in their career."

The singers do not yet have a name for their singing group, but the name Arachnepella has been the front runner, tying together their mascot, a spider, and the phrase "a cappella."

Some members of the group have past singing experience. Maj. Sarah Ford, 8th SWS SBIRS crew commander, sang in the Cadet Chorale at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Senior Airman James Baumgartner, 8th SWS SBIRS install specialist analyst, grew up in choir and was a worship leader for his church.

The group, however, has not always sung a cappella. While the singers were still in the rehearsing stage, Parson's wife, Sylvia, helped the group practice by playing the piano in the base chapel until all of the members knew their parts to the national anthem well enough to perform a cappella. She also provided piano accompaniment during some events, such as the Senior NCO Induction Ceremony in August.

The 8th SWS singers plan to perform at as many events as they can. Tech. Sgt. Jeff Achuff, 8th SWS NCO in charge of crew force management and record management, said he looks forward to any time he gets to perform with his squadron.

"It's been a lot of fun," Achuff said. "I've gotten a lot of pride out of it because we've gotten good feedback. I've been with this unit a long time, and to get their feedback and that recognition. We're doing it right, and we're making them proud. It's pretty cool."

To request the singing group to perform at an event, contact the 8th SWS singers at 720-847-5648.
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