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Staff Sgt. Hugh Wurts, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band drum major, leads the band in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade during the band's week-long tour in Houston Jan. 16-21.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Alexandra M. Harris

Houston high school students get inside look at Marine Corps musicians

29 Jan 2010 | Lance Cpl. Alexandra M. Harris

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band played tunes, marched to the beat, sang songs and danced for hundreds of high school students while visiting eight highschools during the band’s week-long tour here, Jan. 16-21.

The tour was part of several recruiting events the 50-member band performed to provide an inside look at a Marine Corps musician’s daily life.

The band would start its concert for each school playing in individual sections called ‘ensembles,’ which consisted of at least five band members. After each section finished, they held a question and answer period for the students to ask any Marine Corps-related question.

“The band was awesome,” said Rex Grozier, the associate principal of administration at Westfield High School, who helped coordinate the band’s final performance at Westfield. “It was one of the best educational experiences students could have had. They usually think of the Marines as just being warriors, but the way the Marines interacted with the students during and after the show made a huge impact on them.”

Aubrey Brown, a 16-year old junior at the High School of Visual and Performing Arts, has played the flute since third grade and experienced the band up close during a visit to the school.

“It sounded really cool,” said Brown. “I didn’t even know the band did stuff like visiting schools.”

Many of the band members enjoyed the trip to Houston and speaking with the high school students.

“I enjoyed it, especially when the students came up and asked questions,” said Sgt. Armando Silva, a member of the 3rd MAW Band.

Most students are still considering what they’re going to be doing after high school, explained Silva. Seeing the band allows them to consider another option because it showcases a different side of the Marine Corps.

Jess Osborn, a senior at Lamar Consolidated High School, is one student who has considered his options and decided to join the Marine Corps band.

Osborn, who plays the french horn, has been in band since sixth grade and Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps for all four years of high school. He recently got a small taste of the 3rd MAW Band during its final performance at Westfield High School.

“I thought this was the best concert I’ve ever heard in my life,” said Osborn. ““Esprit De Corps” was my favorite part because they did an outstanding job playing it. I think I’ll be the luckiest guy on the planet to join the band. I’ll be doing what I love to do.”

The band held an exhibition showing for several high schools during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. High School Battle of the Bands competition at the University of Houston. They also marched in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and held two concerts with the entire band.

Over the years, a select few have continued their love of music in the 12 Marine Corps bands across the world. For the students of many Houston high schools, the 3rd MAW band provided an opportunity for each student to consider becoming one of those few.

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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing