Hartsfield-Jackson pays musicians to entertain travelers

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Darren Wagner performs on keyboards in the Atrium. Hartsfield-Jackson uses live musicians to calm and entertain travelers in the terminal and on the concourses. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

If you’ve noticed live music performances at the world’s busiest airport in the terminal or on the concourses, it’s not because it’s a special occasion or a holiday.

For the past year, Hartsfield-Jackson International has paid a select group of individual musicians to entertain travelers every weekday, throughout the year.

They include musicians who play the violin, the saxophone, the keyboard and the guitar. They come from a variety of backgrounds playing in bands, in orchestras, as touring artists or as recording musicians in studios.

They play in the domestic terminal in the atrium and near security queues, in the international terminal and on each of the concourses where travelers wait at gates for their flights.

People say “it brings more of a calming atmosphere,” said keyboardist Darren Wagner. He said he plays classic R&B, jazz and popular songs “from an approach of relaxation.” Outside of the airport, Wagner plays in church on Sunday mornings and in clubs around the city.

More musicians will be stationed around the airport over the holidays, said Chester Cook, a former airport chaplain and current guest relations manager who runs the airport musicians program.

James Cobb, an audio engineer and classical guitarist who lives in Decatur, said for passengers, hearing familiar songs is “enough to ease their stress and remind them that they’re actually having a good time traveling.”

For more videos, photos and comments from musicians who play at Hartsfield-Jackson about why they like performing for harried travelers at the airport, read the full story at MyAJC.com.

 


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