CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The Pacific theater of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Iraq – since its inception in the 1940s, members of the 1st Marine Division Band have gone wherever Marines have fought, often setting down their instruments to be on the front lines. Today, the band continues its history of supporting Marines on the ground, providing music for 1st Marine Division ceremonies as well as over 400 events in the surrounding community.
Most recently, they provided the musical score for the Marine Corps’ newest commercial campaign, “Shifting Threats.”
The new commercial, released Oct. 27, features Marines from many different military occupational specialties using new technology to adapt to a changing landscape and combat an evolving threat. The incorporation of the band typifies the ability of Marines to accomplish any mission that is required of them, whether it be patrolling in a hostile environment or a making the score of a national commercial.
The process of making the music went smoothly for the band, who recounted enjoying the experience of recording in a studio. It is not something they are often able to do, as the majority of their schedule consists of live performances in support of division ceremonies or community events.
“We got the music about a week prior to the recording session,” said Sgt. Matthew Booth, a trombonist with the band. “It was a great opportunity because we were working very closely with the producer and the composer who were able to tailor the music composition to our band. We told them how many musicians we had and what instruments and they were able to tailor it toward us to really bring out our strengths.”
It was clear from the beginning that the tone of the commercial, which is amplified by the music, needed to make a statement, projecting the strength and capability the Marine Corps has always been known for.
“We’re going to showcase that the Marine Corps is the tip of the spear,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Kyne, the conductor of the band. “That wherever there’s a battle that needs to be won, they’re going to send in the Marines.”
For many of the Marines in the band, this was an exciting and unique opportunity to be etched into the modern history of the Marine Corps, a new experience for many of the junior Marines.
“We’re going to showcase that the Marine Corps is the tip of the spear. That wherever there’s a battle that needs to be won, they’re going to send in the Marines.” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Kyne, conductor of the 1st Marine Division band.
“The Marine Corps has given me so much and provided so many different opportunities for myself, my wife, my daughter,” said Kyne. “The least I can do is give back to the Corps and ensure that the junior Marines have those same experiences that I got.”
The band understands the impact that their music has on audiences viewing the commercial and how the emotional tone can be changed by their score. Watching the commercial play without audio as they played the music for the recording gave them a better idea of what they wanted to add to the commercial.
“The recording process itself took about six hours to execute fully,” explained Booth. “We went through the full band, recorded it as each section, overdubbed it a little bit more just to iron out some of the details, and before you knew it, it was finished.”
Now that the recording process is complete and the commercial has been publicly released, the members of the band are proud to have played a part in creating something that is reaching a huge audience.
“I’m both proud for me personally, and for my career,” said Booth. “It made me feel really proud to be part of the 1st Marine Division Band as well as the Marine Corps at large. I felt really good on the day we were making it, and I feel fantastic every time that I see it on the TV knowing that if I’m seeing it, then millions of Americans are also seeing it.”
Kyne explained how the commercial reflected his views on the Marine Corps as a whole, especially as the Corps redesigns the force to prepare for future conflicts, and how every part builds onto each other to make the world’s finest fighting force.
“What you’re seeing with your eyes is all the Marines in the infantry, artillery, communications, motor transport - they have everybody doing these things, but there’s also the Marines behind the scenes like myself with the music, and all the administrators out there doing things to keep the Marine Corps machine turning,” Kyne said. “So, it was really interesting seeing that this is really what the Marine Corps has in its focus, we are there to win battles and make sure the enemy knows these aren’t the guys you want to mess with.”