This past Wednesday night we had our first official performance since arriving in Kandahar--a garden party. It was off the main base, but not too far down the road. The event was to honor the British General who is departing when the US takes over the operational control of the region we are in. Our commander was helping out with the barbeque, and one of our trumpet players (SPC James Leggett) joined him so they both left early. This gave Leggett a chance to talk with some of the Afghan military personnel and develop quite a rapport with them. When we arrived, we set up our chairs, music stands, and instruments to provide the dinner music. We were able to take a few breaks to eat, and the flat bread and chicken were quite good. There was also rice and what appeared to be a kind of potato salad. I didn't have time to try out any of the other food. The chilly air didn't make for optimal playing conditions, although the compound we were in was far less dusty than Kandahar Air Field. (My sinuses reacted to something over there and clogged up, so I was uncomfortable almost the whole time. Not so much that I was unable to play, but I was definitely not at my best.) All things considered, we left a good impression and the British Colonel who was coordinating the event seemed pleased with how it went. He suggested we get together with the Afghan military band and do some work with them, so perhaps that will allow us some more international interaction.
Also, a few days ago I got my first haircut here. The woman who cut my hair was named "Nazgul," so now I can tell people that I've had my haircut by a Ring Wraith. (Don't get me wrong though--she did a great job cutting my hair!)