Meredith and Claire McNair stood for a photo outside a classic tour bus formerly used by ‘80’s mega-band Journey. In front of them was the stage they would soon be ascending and nearby was a World War II-era vintage aircraft. Working nearby were John Zapp and Mike Ciochetti. For these four individuals, years of hard work were about to pay off. The annual Heaven’s Landing Airshow and Concert, held in Clayton, GA on June 25, heralded what they hoped would be the next chapter in their lives.
John Zapp is President of Flying Musicians Association (FMA), a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to growing interest in music and aviation by highlighting the unique combination of skills and talents both require. One way FMA wants to fulfill its mission is by hosting music at aviation and other events.
Mike Ciochetti is Developer of Heaven’s Landing, a mountain top residential airpark in Rabun County, GA. Mike’s goal is to promote the unique lifestyle living on an airport in the Blue Ridge Mountains affords. He sees the annual air show, sporting some of the biggest names in acrobatic flying, and concert, showcasing up and coming musicians, as one way of doing that.
Meredith and Claire together are Flyte Three, rising talents in the Nashville music scene. Their father flew for the airlines, their mom is a pilot, Meredith has soloed and Claire is considering lessons. For them aviation and music go together like the mandolins and guitars they play.
The show was FMA’s first attempt at coordinating a larger-scale musical event with professional musicians (Flyte Three’s backing band was made up of veteran Nashville session players whose talent has appeared on countless records). FMA wants to develop a full-service music presentation and promotion for events nationwide as a way to raise funds for programs and scholarship while promoting their message. “We hope to attract named artist who are pilots to perform across the country, willing to help FMA raise funds and awareness” -John Zapp. Heaven’s Landing was a test. For Flyte Three, it was key exposure outside of Nashville and for Mike Ciochetti, it was a key promotional event for his development. All three came together on a gorgeous summer evening on top of the mountain.
For the several hundred audience members sitting in the shade of the mountains watching the airshow performers and listening to the music, it was just a great way to spend a summer evening. For the food vendors it was a chance to raise some money. But for John, Mike, Claire and Meredith, it might just have been the start of something bigger. Mike said it best himself when he noted ‘We were blessed with beautiful weather, and the event was highlighted by great entertainment in the sky and on the stage. Everyone that attended had a wonderful time. We look forward to 2017!”
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