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Marine band swaps notes with Darton musicians

By Cpl Isaac Pacheco | | April 29, 2004

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Two local musical powerhouses made some noise last week when they combined forces for a performance at Darton College in Albany, Ga.

The Albany Marine Band and Darton College Concert Band teamed up April 20 for a night celebrating patriotic music and other classics.  Several hundred people packed into the Darton Theater to enjoy the festive union of military and civilian bands, including Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Commanding Officer Col. Joseph Wingard.

The annual pairing between the bands began several years ago, and has continued to be a fun-filled opportunity for both bands to combine their collective talents and show off for the Albany community.  However, for some Marine bandmembers who play in the Darton College Concert Band while taking courses at the school, the event is just another day at the office.

One such Marine bandmember has played with Darton college for more than two years.  He said the event gives both bands a venue to display the hard work that goes into making good music.

"As Marines, we put a lot of work into learning and performing our (music) pieces," said Cpl. Robert Grogan III, saxophonist.  "Playing with both bands gives me different views of what goes into bringing a group of musicians together and making them into a band."

The Albany Marine Band routinely travels throughout the U.S. and other countries to perform, but according to some band Marines, the Darton College pairing is unique because it serves as the bellwether for the Marines' level of performance.

"We've played with Darton in the past, and it seems like they're getting better every year," said Sgt. Dave Karpf, woodwind section leader.

The Darton College and MCLB Albany Music Education Program not only benefits from cooperative efforts like the joint concert, but also helps civilians see Marines in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Bandmembers feel the interaction between Marines and civilian students in a professional music setting helps foster goodwill between the base and the city of Albany.

"Playing with the Darton College band is an awesome opportunity for us to work with civilian musicians," Karpf said.  "I think it's a great way to build stronger relationships with the local community."

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