The Second Marine Division Band dwarfed the audience at a March 17 concert at nearby Monticello High School. The majority of attendees were former military service members and their relatives. However, the men and women of the Division’s Own Marine Corps Band were undeterred by poor turnout and even mid-concert microphone malfunctions.
The set list was robust and varied, featuring classics such as Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and John Williams’ “Evening at Pops” as well as jazz and rock arrangements performed by smaller ensembles within the band. Near the end of the concert, to honor their fellow service members and their families, the Marines performed a medley of the official songs of all five armed service branches and invited audience members to stand and be recognized when they “heard their song.”
“We were kind of bummed,” said Gunnery Sergeant Shannon L. Farquhar after the concert, “but we played for the people who came”.
According to Marketing and Public Affairs Representative Sergeant Aaron Daimont, these concerts serve an even greater purpose. Like the other nine USMC bands, the Division’s Own fulfill a number of important roles in the Marine Corps. Their concerts create a venue for community outreach beyond military bases and civilian communities with strong ties to the military. Military band concerts also provide recruiting opportunities, as evidenced by the table set up outside the auditorium.
However, Sgt. Daimont, a former High School musician, says that the concerts fulfill an even better purpose. “This is kind of a treat for us and a chance to get out into the community and show these young high-school musicians that there are opportunities to become professional musicians.”
The band loaded up back onto their bus within the hour and headed back to Richmond for the night. After finishing their tour of select high schools within Virginia, they will return to their posting at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
**Originally published in print and online in Piedmont Virginia Community College’s The Forum.**