Downers Grove Native Shines in U.S. Air Force Holiday Flash Mob

By now you may have seen the viral video of a holiday flash mob performed by the United States Air Force Band at the Smithsonian. But did you know that one of your own stars in it?

Kristin Bowers was always a standout student to her teachers in Downers Grove District 58.

The red-haired clarinetist was focused and dedicated beyond her years when Herrick Middle School music and band teacher Jon Ball taught her from fifth through eighth grade. Bowers had a passion for the clarinet from the beginning.

"It was obvious that she was going to be successful at anything she did," Ball said. "She was a tremendous student all around."

So it was no surprise to Ball to see Bowers starring in a YouTube video of a United States Air Force band holiday flash mob, which has now gone viral with over 1 million views. The band stunned visitors at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum with a five-minute flash mob performance incorporating 120 musicians.

The show was started Dec. 6 when Technical Sgt. Edward Prevost, a cellist, began playing on a chair in the middle of the museum’s “Milestones of Flight” gallery. Slowly, "onlookers" filed in behind Prevost, peeling back plain clothes to reveal Air Force uniforms. Bowers is spotted at the :44 mark in a pink coat, entering the left side of the frame. She stars as soloist at the 1:23 mark. 

She began playing in fifth grade at Pierce Downer Elementary School and continued through Herrick Middle School and Downers Grove North. She is spotted at the :44 mark in a pink coat, entering the left side of the frame. She stars as soloist at the 1:23 mark. 

"She was always an A+ student," Ball said, noting that in addition to the clarinet, Bowers dabbled in dancing, singing and piano before concentrating her efforts solely on clarinet while attending North. She graduated DGN in 2002, and went on to Indiana University, where she majored in clarinet performance. She then pursued a master's degree in clarinet performance at Northwestern University.

"She was always a little ahead of the curve," Ball said, "very much wanting to push herself to be the best she could." 

Ball believes Bowers has even greater success ahead of her.

"One of our 'good girls', done well," Ball said. "We're so proud of her."

Watch as Bowers and her bandmates perform an arrangement of Bach’s "Jesu" and "Joy of Man’s Desiring," followed by "Joy to the World,"—with vocalists emerging from the museum’s second-floor balcony.

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Karen M. Bushy December 12, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Is she any relation to Dr. Larry Bowers who was principal of DGN when my kids were there in the mid to late 1980's?
Kenneth Hadler December 13, 2013 at 03:18 PM
I had enjoyed the video. Now I can enjoy it even more, knowing it has a hometown connection.


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