MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., --
The Combat Center Band has been providing music for this installation for more than 50 years. Their precise and well-orchestrated playing has been heard by many across the western United States, both Marine and civilian, at ceremonies, parades and celebrations.
This year alone, the band has played at more than 30 public events and ceremonies. They conducted their final performance of the year at the Palm Springs Convention Center for the Holiday Concert Dec. 7, 2011.
The stage was filled with chairs and instruments and covered in festive lighting. Marines, veterans and members of the community filled more than 3,000 seats, all gathered together to hear the band’s last note of 2011.
“This is kind of like family, it’s kind of like playing for home,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Furlong, saxophonist, Combat Center Band.
The band began the performance with a twist on many well-known seasonal tunes, adding their own flare to each song. They had practiced for this night since Thanksgiving.
“We are just trying to give the people a taste that we are more than just what you see on the field for changes of command,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joel Daniel, tuba instrumentalist, Combat Center Band. “We’re multifaceted, and that’s what we tried to showcase tonight.”
The crowd cheered to the band’s musical styling, but the holidays are also a time of tradition. During the second half, the musicians regaled the crowd with a selection of traditional holiday songs and melodies as they were originally written.
As the notes faded away, the Marines stepped off the stage to shake hands and talk with their adoring public. After hours of soulful playing, the night came to an end at well after 10 p.m.
“We’ve poured our hearts and souls into this one,” said Furlong, standing proud in his dress blues uniform “We gave it 110 percent.”