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The Albany Marine Band performs at ASU

By 2nd Lt. Kyle Thomas | | April 15, 2010

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The Marine Corps story is best told through the medium of music.

The Albany Marine Band, Marine Corps Logistics Command, related this story to a large audience at the Albany State University Academy Center during their concert, April 8.

“This program is designed to tell you the story of our service,” said CWO2 Christian E. Flores, band officer, Albany Marine Band. “We are the Albany Marine Band. We are the representation of this Southwest Georgian town, and every time we go on the road this is what we represent, not just the Marine Corps. This town feels a little more connected with us.”

The Olympic Fanfare and Theme, Star Wars Medley and the Semper Fidelis March were among a selection of pieces that were performed.

However, it was Selections from King Kong, by John Barry, that related this story with emphasis. Staff Sgt. Joe Keogh, enlisted conductor, Albany Marine Band, provided narration throughout the ceremony.

“The story of King Kong draws a distinct parallel to the ferocious demeanor of this main character while protecting his love at the expense of his life. Notice the distinct sections of this piece that demonstrate the passion and fire that we as Marines possess while maintaining a delicate finesse in its contrasting movements,” Keogh said.

Selections from King Kong was not the only piece that provided for an emotional connection between the band and those present. This included Sgt. William J. Merritt, trumpet player, Albany Marine Band, playing Taps to a silent audience.

The Albany Band also encouraged the audience to participate in an “ooh-rah” shouting contest; a contest that ended with Keogh assuming the role of conductor for the playing of the Olympic Fanfare and Theme.

The Star Spangled banner also struck an emotional note with Keogh’s narration relating the piece to the tragedy of 9/11 and the trials this nation has faced since.

This emotional connection is something that the band strives for, especially when performing here, at home, in Albany, Ga.

“It’s all about the story of the Marine Corps and the emotion that we put behind it. We put countless hours in rehearsal, not only focusing on hitting the correct notes, but evoking the correct emotion we want the audience to experience,” said Cpl. Jessica Hall, euphonium, Albany Marine Band.

Although Hall has been in the Marine Corps for two years, she has performed music for 10 years.

It’s all about preparation and the Albany Marine Band understands that this is crucial to a successful performance.

The band places just as much preparation in its music as it does its physical fitness. This is the reason why the Albany Band enjoys the international reputation that it has, Flores said.

Overall, the performance was designed to create this emotional connection with the audience.

“We plan the program this way…We put as much energy into our music preparation as we do in our physical preparation,” Flores said. “Our job is to represent the Marine Corps. We represent every Marine in a way that they would want to be represented.

Music is the way to communicate with the audience Flores added.

“Music transcends words. It is a way to create an emotional experience with the audience. We try to play music that will connect, will inspire to tell the story effectively,” he said.

“Marines are not only warriors, they also serve those in need such as the Tsunami Relief effort. The Marines literally put villages back together in Iraq and Afghanistan and it is our way to portray the very nature of the Marine Corps in music.”


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