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Marine Corps Fleet Music Program

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Headquarters Marine Corps Communication Directorate
Marine Corps Fleet Music Program

Marine Music News

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Gunnery Sgt. Martin Arreola, the Third Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) Band enlisted conductor, led the band through several songs, October 14, 2023. The band performed at the Inno Elementary School gym, in front of the Gotemba Nishi Junior High School Band, as part of a community relations effort. The III MEF Band also performed the next day at the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji Friendship Festival. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Song Jordan)

Photo by Song Jordan

III MEF Band Advises Gotemba Nishi Junior High Musicians / 第3海兵遠征軍音楽隊が御殿場西中学校吹奏楽部と交流

25 Oct 2023 | CATC Camp Fuji Public Affairs Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji

The Third Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) Band, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, offered more than a performance to student musicians studying at Gotemba Nishi Junior High School, October 14, 2023.

The band was originally requested to perform at the installation’s Fuji Friendship Festival. They sought an opportunity to get out into the community before the festival.

“Many of the students had no idea of what to expect today, but after hearing the Marines perform they became excited,” said Asuka Furusawa, the band teacher.

Some of the songs that the band performed in the Inno Elementary School gym, brought back memories for Furusawa.

“I used to play in a brass band as well, I knew some of the songs the Marines played today. I personally, was excited about today too,” she said.

After the performance, many of the Marines worked with students in small sections, offering advice on how to bring out the best sounds with their instruments.

The Marines understand that advice like this is important.

“Giving them quality time with their sections to develop their music abilities, I think that’s a great thing to have right now, especially in the early ages of musicianship,” said Gunnery Sgt. Martin Arreola, the III MEF Band enlisted conductor.

Although the students appeared to appreciate the bands performance, they may not have been aware that the Marines are experts in their fields.

“Some of them have masters [degrees], some of them have doctorates in musical education,” said Arreola.

Furusawa said the opportunity to learn from the Marines could be heard immediately.

“The quality of tone improved, especially the brass section,” she said. “The fuzzy tones the trumpeters often had issues with has been solved.  Now the students are aware of how they can maintain quality tones and that’s great.”

After group rehearsals, the entire group came together to play the song.

Following the collaborative performance, the Marines climbed stairs to the catwalk and became members of the audience.

The entire Gotemba Nishi marching band put on a show for the Marines, demonstrating several numbers they have already mastered including the drill team performers. 

Throughout the show, Marines offered the students encouragement with clapping, hoots, and shouting.

Col. Neil Owens, Commanding Officer of Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, said the III MEF Band made a positive impact during the visit with the students.

“I’m super impressed in their ability to instruct. I’ve been walking around, listening to these groups.  The Marines are giving pointers and coaching tips, and the students are listening. I don’t know a lot about music, but I can tell the difference,” Owens said. “I think it’s fantastic, I think it shows the Marines commitment to the local community around Camp Fuji and to the Japanese people as a whole.”




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