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Lance Cpl. Chase Gilmore, a trombone player with the Combat Center band, plays a trombone from Yucca Valley High School, Yucca Valley, Calif.’s band program during a visit to the school to work with their music students.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Combat Center band mentors students

26 Mar 2009 | Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Marines with the Combat Center’s band traveled to a local high school to work with students in the school’s music program March 26.

This is one of many trips  band members have made to work with students from Yucca Valley High School’s music program, said Gunnery Sgt. Richard Nunley, an enlisted conductor with the Combat Center’s band.

The purpose of the program is to reach out and encourage music at a young age and help and support the students, said the Cleveland native.

“We try to help out and build relations with many schools in Southern California, and even in other states,” he said.

Nunley said the Marines  really enjoy working with the local bands and students.

“We’ve worked with schools before, and it’s the same every time, you know the kids enjoy it, but all of us do as well,” he said.

The Marine Corps also benefits by promoting a good relationship with the local community, Nunley said.

Trips like these help build rapport and mutual respect between Marines and the local community, he said.

Yucca Valley High School’s band, the hosts of the visit, showed their excitement  for the Marines.

“The kids absolutely love it when the Marines come here to play music with them,” said Bill Barrett, the band director for the school and a Yucca Valley, Calif., native. “From all of my past experiences the kids are excited every time when they get this opportunity.”

Barrett said the visit is a great learning experience for his students.

“I’ve had students come up to me after the Marines left and say that they learned just from sitting next to them while they play.”

Barrett added that his students look forward to the interaction with the Combat Center band every time.

“After every visit almost every student I’ve had asks when they’re coming back,” he said. “It is one of the highlights of teaching these kids.”

Barrett said he thinks partnering with the Marines is very valuable to his students.

“It’s a great teaching and interaction tool,” he said. “I love what it does for the kids, and I think it is one of our best teaching tools.”

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