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Marine band spreads holiday cheer

By Sgt. Kristen Bennett | | December 20, 2002

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The Marine Corps Band Twentynine Palms has been busy spreading Christmas cheer this holiday season at a variety of events aboard the Combat Center and throughout the Southwest.

Along with the band's annual Christmas appearances including the Palm Spring's Christmas concert and a Toys for Tots and Marine Corps League Christmas concert in Laughlin, Nev., the band was also spotted at the Marine Corps Exchange Family Fun Festival Friday, Dec, 13, and in many other locations around the base as a part of it's new caroling program.

"The Christmas caroling helps us fulfill our basic mission-troop morale and welfare," said Staff Sgt. Charles Owens, drum major.  "I think all the Marines and families enjoy the fact that we are going around the base."

This is the first year the band has taken its Christmas music to the streets, showcasing its talent in the base housing areas, mess halls, work stations and even the children's centers aboard the Combat Center.  They played the traditional Christmas tunes like "O Holy Night" and "Jingle Bells," but added in some flavor with a few contemporary songs like a parody of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" called "The Twelve Days After Christmas."

"It was really rewarding to see the audience be receptive to the new music we played," said Cpl. Daniel Paul, percussionist.  "It feels good because that's what I came into the Marine Corps to do-to bring joy to people through music."

"Although the Christmas concerts are great for everyone, the Marines in the band get to see the appreciation for what they're doing right away when they're caroling," said Owens.  "Christmas cheer is infectious; once we started taking it around, it spread to everyone else."

The band split into four primary groups, a brass quintet, a saxophone quartet, a low-brass group and a jazz combo called Desert Jazz, to ensure the entire base was reached with their holiday greetings.

The band continues the seasonal push through the new year.  After a short break for Christmas, band members reconvene to prepare for a musical appearance in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on New Year's Day.  They will be the host band for the four Marine Corps Bands in the Southwest including the band at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing band from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., and the 1st Marine Division band from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.  Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas Mangan, Combat Center band officer, is the officer-in-charge for the parade with Owens as the parade drum major.

The parade is on all major channels including FOX, ABC, NBC and CBS New Year's Day.
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