Dynamic Duo: Twin brothers share love of music, Air Force

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jerome S. Tayborn
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
Audience members attending a recent performance by U.S. Air Forces Band of the Pacific-Hawaii "Hana Hou" may have experienced double vision.
A closer look revealed that the two identical men on the stage held different instruments.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Hornbuckle, trumpet player, joined his twin brother, Tech. Sgt. Michael Hornbuckle a trombone player, as a member of the band.

The Band of the Pacific is the only military band that performs Hawaiian and island music along with a wide breadth of pop, rock and jazz combos.

"We started music lessons at the age of 14, when we're trying to get out of some other class," said Sergeant Brian. "So our mother gave us an ultimatum. Either take the class, we wanted to avoid, or sign up for music."

The two quickly noticed that music came easy to them, as they excelled in their lessons.

After high school the brothers attended college together, they both eventually changed their original majors from engineering major, and physical therapy major, and went to the University of Kentucky where they completed their undergraduate studies. They both received their masters' degrees in music performance from the University of Louisville.

Two years after graduation, the twins performed at a civilian concert, where they reunited with a friend, Airman 1st Class Tom Money, an Air Force bandsman, who immediately noticed the twins' talents.

"He was the one who persuaded us to audition for the Air Force Band," said Sergeant Brian.

Sergeant Michael auditioned at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., for the trombone position, while Sergeant Brian auditioned for the trumpet position at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The two were immediately selected and left their hometown of Huntington, W.Va., and joined the Air Force together on Aug. 28, 2000.

For both brothers, it's their second time being stationed together and they continue to share a love for music, especially jazz.

"My favorite musician is a jazz trombone player named Curtis Fuller, while Brian's favorite is a trumpet player named Clark Terry," said Sergeant Michael.

The brothers not only share a love for music, but bowling and golfing as well. Although they look alike, "Brian is more people oriented, and a little more outgoing than I am," said Sergeant Michael."

Confusing others has been a part of their lives in the Air Force, said the twins.

On one occasion Michael was in town visiting Brian at Wright-Patterson, AFB. The two admit to taking turns repeatedly walking past Brian's former band secretary's desk. She had no clue she was dealing with twins that day, but stared confusingly as Brian kept reappearing mysteriously. Eventually she figured out the joke.

Another common mistake is when one twin is mistaken for another.

"Michael's friends see me around base and suddenly wonder why they are getting the cold shoulder," said Sergeant Brian. "I see the confusion in their faces and explain, 'I don't know you, and it's my twin brother Michael you are thinking of.'"

The duo has a difference of opinion about what it means to each of them to be a member of the band.

"I enjoy helping the band through its new transformations, and I am grateful that the band is receiving more opportunities to play more jazz," said Sergeant Michael. "Chief MacTaggart knows how to empower his non-commissioned officers, which makes me love coming to work every day," he said.

Sergeant Brian has his own opinion.

"I enjoy the opportunity to be at a different location, having been at Wright-Patterson for the last nine years of my career," said Sergeant Brian. "I suffer from Type 1 Diabetes, which has limited me to only two overseas locations as a bandsman, here and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska."

Chief MacTaggart, Hana Hou's band director and the twins' supervisor, is a twin himself.
"I also have a twin sister and I know how fun it is to be able to be near your best friend," he said. "My impression of Brian and Michael Hornbuckle is that they are absolute gems to work with." "Both are the complete package: stellar musicians, superb airmen, and thoughtful people who really take care of business. Michael and Brian really complement each other perfectly and help make our entire unit better. We are fortunate to have them on our team."