Lang is commander and conductor of the United States Air Force Band. The group is performing holiday concerts this weekend at DAR Constitution Hall.
How did you get involved in military bands?
I've been doing this for 22 years now, and 10 years prior to that, I was a university band director. I was at a point in my university career when I needed to get a doctorate, and I applied to several universities and won a doctoral fellowship at Florida State and simultaneously an audition for [a] United States Air Force band leader [opening]. ... I had a choice to make, and this is the direction I went.
What is your favorite thing about being a conductor?
In this job in particular, it's the joy of working with Air Force professionals. The members of the United States Air Force Band represent the over 500,000 Air Force members worldwide. And it's our job and it's such a pleasure to be able to represent them through the excellence that we demonstrate through our music. The second part of it is just connecting with American citizens. ... And then taking care of our troops. It's just such an honor to go over to Arlington, for example, and play final honors for one of our fallen warriors or to play at a dining out or an entertainment event for our troops here at home who deserve that kind of troop morale. I've also been very fortunate to deploy to the Middle East and was able to tour from some of the remote bases throughout the Middle East.
Tell me about your holiday concert.
[It] has a wonderful collection of traditional holiday music that everyone will recognize. It will also feature several of our outstanding soloists and the Air Force Singing Sergeants, the premier chorus of the United States Air Force.