With trombones blaring, trumpets sounding and musicians marching, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band awed the crowd of the 9th annual Martin Luther King Jr. High School Battle of the Bands competition here Jan. 16.
The University of Houston hosted the event at Robertson Stadium on campus in support of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Embracing the Brotherhood of Man” was the event’s theme.
“The whole thing was great,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Vazquez, a musician with the 3rd MAW Band, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “It was awesome to see so many high school kids enjoying music and enjoying playing. You could really see them getting into the whole performance in the stands.”
The band played several songs including the “Marines’ Hymn,” “Salute to the Promised Land” and “Georgia On My Mind.”
The band performs these types of events several times a year. One of the main purposes of performing at these types of events is to expose high school students to the Marine Corps music program.
All of the band members had some experience with the Marine Corps band before they joined, explained Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Hayes, the officer in charge of the 3rd MAW Band. It’s important for high school students to see the band performing in person rather than just hearing about it. For some of them, it’s the first time they’ve heard about the Marine Corps band at all.
“It shows a broader spectrum of what the Marine Corps is about,” said Staff Sgt. Jesus Coria, a recruiter at Recruiting Station Houston. “The students gain more knowledge about what’s available in the Marine Corps by seeing the band live.”
More than 15 high school bands from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas competed in the event. The event featured the University of Houston’s “Spirit of Houston” marching band and the Prairie View A & M’s “Marching Storm.”
The band is considered by many people to be the face of the Marine Corps and the musicians perform at almost every Marine Corps event ranging from change of commands to birthday balls. For the hundreds of students attending the Battle of the Bands, the musicians gave a performance that showed the discipline and dedication it takes to be a Marine Corps musician.