Albany Marine Band gearing for The Big E

25 Sep 2009 | Colie Young

The Albany Marine Band will be featured at The Big E festival in Springfield, Mass., Friday through Sunday. The event is the third largest fair on the east coast and attracts hundreds of thousands of people daily.

The 46-member band will perform in The Big E's Daily Parade on Friday and Grande Mardi Gras Parades on Saturday and Sunday. Both parades begin at 5 p.m. The Albany Marine Band’s repertoire includes a variety of musical selections in styles that include patriotic, classical, jazz, big band and classic rock.

A five-piece Marine brass ensemble will also delight fairgoers with Mardi-Gras style tunes as they rove throughout the fairgrounds in the afternoon during the band's three-day stay.

In addition to The Big E Parades, the Albany Marine Band is scheduled to visit area schools and provide musical clinics as part of the National Community Relations Campaign for the U.S. Marine Corps.

“We’re going up there primarily for The Big E, performing in parades on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. In addition to that, on Saturday and Sunday we’re planning on having a brass band stroll throughout the fairgrounds playing some Dixieland-style music,” said Staff Sgt. Ignatius Keogh, Albany Marine Band.

“We’re combining our role in The Big E with some school visits as well,” Keogh pointed out. “We have five schools that we’re planning on visiting which will help support the Marine Corps’ recruiting efforts. We also plan to provide some musical clinics for a couple of the schools’ bands.”

Impacting the community through music is one of the goals of the Albany Marine Band, and band member Sgt. William Killian said music is one of the most powerful forms of communication.

“It’s good for us to reach kids in a different way (through music) and it’s good for the Marine Corps because they can see us doing a job and doing it well,” Killian said.

“It’s a great opportunity for the band to extend their reach beyond the state of Georgia and the southeastern area,” Cpl. Jessica Hall added. “The Marine Corps is admired by everyone in the United States and it’s motivating for us to go out there and give them the product that we’ve been working so hard on.”

Formed in 1990, the Albany Marine Band is one of only 12 bands in the Marine Corps. All the bands' musicians were selected by audition and must maintain a high level of instrumental proficiency.  Additionally, with the Marine Corps tradition of "every Marine a rifleman," all Marines in the Band are fully trained to fulfill their secondary mission of bearing arms in the defense of our nation.

During 2008-2009, the Albany Marine Band traveled more than 50,000 miles and performed for more than 20 million people.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany