MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band performed multiple styles of music, including rock, hip hop and country at their sixth annual free concert for Combat Center personnel at the Sunset Cinema March 13 from 6-8 p.m.
The interactive show was available to all Combat Center personnel and their families. Sinise’s performance allowed for a blend of performers walking throughout the audience and members of the crowd joining the band on stage.
Sinise is best known for his roles in such films as Forrest Gump, The Green Mile and Apollo 13, and the hit television show CSI: New York. Despite his busy schedule, Sinise continues to give his time to support the troops stationed in the U.S. and overseas, according to the band Web site.
“When I go somewhere with the band to entertain the troops I want them to go away feeling better than how they walked in,” Sinise said. “I have seen that happen whenever I come out here so it has become something I do every March.”
Before the performance, more than 1,100 concert-goers packed the cinema, surpassing last year’s attendance of more than 700.
The concert began with Sinise asking the audience members to stand up for the first song. Then he asked the children to come up to the front of the theater. The next song he had all the girls in the front come on stage to dance and sing along with the band.
The band kept the audience up and singing along with several songs from artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Police, Lee Ann Womack, and many others. Then Julie Dutchak and Mari Anne Jayme, both vocalists with the band, called up a lucky Marine from the audience. The vocalists then vied for his attention while singing Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.”
The main show ended with Sinise walking off the stage to perform his last song amongst the crowd. The band exited the stage, but returned for a 15 minute encore. Sinise then asked everyone to stand and led the band and audience in singing Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.”
The band has plans to come back next year and for years to come, said Kelley Coe, the special event coordinator with MCCS. “Every year the event just gets bigger and bigger.”
After the concert many of the guests waited more than one hour for photos and autographs with Sinise.
To view more photos or submit your own, log on to the Combat Center’s Facebook page.
For more information on the Lt. Dan Band and its show schedule, log onto http://www.ltdanband.com