MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
After having toured the country playing at ceremonies and events, the 2nd Marine Division band took time out of the year to play for service members and their families here at home during the “Wishing you a Season of Joy and Peace” event at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Base Theater Dec. 10.
This year’s presentation differed from previous years in terms of musical genre. The band incorporated big band, new era, concert band, a jazz combo and different playstyles to give each song a different twist.
Songs played included Let it Snow, Jingle Bells, Brazilian Sleigh Bells and Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
“It’s great to play here at home where we are stationed,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Williams, a trumpet player and assistant band major for the 2nd Marine Division Band. “It’s nice to give back to our own civilian and military community. It’s our Christmas gift to our community.”
The band did not just pick up their instruments and belt out some tunes, the concert took months of practice, which had to be fitted into their already busy traveling and performing schedule.
All of the band’s hard work paid off when almost half of the theater was filled with service members and their families. Scattered throughout the crowd were also some of the band members’ very own families coming to see their loved ones perform.
“It’s comforting to play at home, we know we’re very appreciated around here,” said Williams. “We hope they enjoyed the concert as much as we enjoyed playing for them.”
At one point in the concert, the band took a break and Master Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Boatright, bandmaster for the 2nd Marine Division Band, took a seat in a rocking chair situated near the first row and all the children in the crowd were invited to hear him read ‘Twas the night before Christmas’.
After the band played a few more tunes, there was an intermission during which the kids flooded the snack table to grab a few cookies and some drinks. Concertgoers were then treated to a skit put on in partnership with the MCB Camp Lejeune High School titled “SMEAC: Six Militant Elves Against Christmas”.
The skit focused on six elves who had lost their Christmas Spirit, but with a bit of ingenuity and help from movie characters like the Joker, Rocky, Optimus Prime and Dr. Gru.
The concert ended, the crowd gave the band a standing ovation.
“I heard about this from a former band member who had said it was a good performance, and so far I’ve enjoyed it as well as my three kids,” said Crystal Blaney, a military spouse. “I didn’t see the beginning unfortunately, but the play was wonderful. Overall it was well put together and enjoyable.”