Marine Band honored with international festival invitation
By Cpl. Isaac Pacheco
| | September 9, 2004
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga -- Only days after stunning crowds in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; the Albany Marine band once again brought the distinctive sound of Marine Corps music to the Streets of Quebec. Last week's Festival International de Musiques Militaires de Quebec or International Military Music Festival of Quebec brought together military bands from around the world for a four-day celebration of music and military tradition. Each of the bands offered unique musical performances that featured anthems representative of their countries and branches of service.
For the Marines, the invitation alone was a great honor. They were the only American military band invited to the annual festival, and have only performed there once before in 2001.
"It's a real honor to be here representing the United States and the Marine Corps," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Farquhar, director and enlisted band leader, Albany Marine Band. "We were the only band from any of the (military) services in the United States to be invited to participate in this event, and we're one of only two bands invited from outside Canada."
The four-day event featured concerts at the George V armory in Quebec City, the Pepsi Coliseum, and D'Youville Square on the outskirts of the walled city known as Old Quebec. The Marine Band was also invited to participate in several marching performances including an unparalleled visit to the Citadel of Quebec, where they partook in the changing of the guard ceremony and played a selection of traditional military marches.
In the midst of their hectic practice and performance schedule the Marines were continually guided and motivated by their dedicated leaders, especially Drum Major, Staff Sgt. Michael Diuguid. Charging into the midst of his troops with determination and resolve, he often turned the simple passing of word into a motivation-filled pep rally.
During one such pre-gig meeting Diuguid reminded his Marines of the importance of their mission.
"We're going out here today and we're going to show them what Marines are all about," Diuguid said, his impatient stance conveying to all that he was not content with standing still. "All that other trash you've got going on can stay right here because from this point on we're not playing any games."
He was ready to march.
The fire and intensity with which the band attacked each performance was not only representative of their overall professionalism but also a singular reflection of Diuguid's call to excellence. Crowds cheered enthusiastically during each performance, and when band members took to the streets to meet the audience after a show they were always greeted with a barrage of accolades. The Marines' music bridged language barriers in the mostly French-speaking province of Quebec, and their glowing pursuit of excellence shined from every inch of their meticulously maintained uniforms.
Quebec citizens saw a band, but behind the band they learned about a nation; a nation whose best warriors don't always carry rifles. Quebec citizens saw the Marine Corps.