DENVER -- The Combat Center Band traveled to Denver, to entertain more than 850 members of the 1st Marine Division Association at their 59th annual Reunion Aug. 28 to Sept. 2.
The band performed at three main events during the reunion, each ending in standing ovations from the crowd.
"Everybody thought they were marvelous," said the association’s reunion chairman, Gary C. Wilkins. "The band was just wonderful. Everyone loved everything, from their performance at the memorial to the jam sessions at the banquet."
The band’s first performance was at a memorial service Aug. 25 at Ft. Logan National Cemetery, in honor of Marines and sailors killed in action, missing in action and prisoners of war. It was also the day of the 40th anniversary of the 1st Marine Division’s arrival in Vietnam. The band played selections such as "All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name," "Eternal Father," “The Star-Spangled Banner” and "Stars and Stripes Forever."
The next performance was a concert later that evening at the Marriott Denver City Center. The crowd was wowed with a colorful rendition of a jazz piece called "Butter Beans." Band members sang and danced along with the music, stirring up laughter and cheers from the audience.
They also played boisterous presentations of traditional marches, such as "Freelance March," "National Emblem" and "Washington Post." The bursts of the percussions made some audience members cover their ears and others clap in enjoyment.
The reunion ended with a banquet featuring the Combat Center Band. The band played Marine favorites, such as "Espirit de Corps," "Song of the Marines," "Semper Fidelis," "The Marines’ Hymn," and the division’s official song, "Waltzing Matilda."
Guests, such as Randall and Liz Schmidt, enjoyed the brief information given about each song before each performance.
"I enjoyed the concert and the bit of history given about each number," said Mrs. Schmidt. "It was very informative. It’s always good to learn while having a good time."
The band members enjoyed meeting many of the association members throughout the weekend.
"Meeting the Marines from the 1st Marine Division Association motivated us to play a more spirited show," said Cpl. Regan Young, saxophonist. "We always give our best, but it was just more personal and fun for us this time."
During the banquet dinner, the band members got to sit down and share stories with some of the veterans, said Young.
"It was an honor to sit and listen to these Marines that were actually there in Vietnam and Korea and other places," he explained. "It was like a history lesson from someone who was there."
The crowd was more than pleased to have the Combat Center Band as their entertainment and guests for the reunion.
"We've been to many reunions, and it would not be the same without the band," said Mrs. Schmidt. "They completed the reunion."