HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- The Combat Center Band participated in the 75th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade in Hollywood, Calif., Sunday. This was the band’s third consecutive year of being invited to partake in the event.
The parade kicked off on Hollywood Blvd. and ended three-and-a-half miles down the road at Sunset Blvd.
The parade, which has been a tradition since 1928, acts as a visual reminder that Hollywood is on the cutting edge of entertainment, according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce website.
Staff Sgt. Joel M. Daniel, platoon sergeant of the band, takes pride in knowing the Combat Center Band has been invited to return year after year.
“To me, that really shows that we are doing things the right way,” said Daniel. “We [the band] have excellent chemistry with what we’re doing. For some reason, it just works.”
Daniel has marched in countless parades, including the Rose Parade in 1993, and has much experience with parades, music and crowds.
“We put on an excellent performance,” Daniel said. “The crowd made it awesome with their enthusiasm, and the route itself was amazing with the lights, decorations and glitter.”
Daniel revealed it was the Marine Corps band that caught his interest and inspired him to join.
“It [The band] was a major motivator for me,” said Daniel. “I think it’s just the image the band puts out there. It’s like looking at a 440 Dodge engine sitting in idle. You can literally see all the power and the potential energy, and it’s like it’s ready to explode. There is something magnetic about it.”
Daniel said he feels it is also crucial to make themselves known to the younger crowd.
“We try to put on a little show for them. I guess you could say we act like a small recruiting tour,” he said. Most of the kids in marching bands don’t know they can make a real living from it.”
Daniel said he loves the enthusiasm the crowd gives when the Marines march by. “I love how the crowd is always so energetic. I don’t remember hearing so many ‘oorahs’ and ‘semper fi’s’ at this parade before.”
Lance Cpl. Bryan Coager, the newest member of the Combat Center band, shared Daniel’s excitement.
“I think we did really well tonight,” he said. “It was a little long, but everyone stayed focused, stayed together, and kept the intensity all the way to the end.”
Coager said he felt the Marines left a strong impression on the public.
“I think the people see us as Marines when we are marching. But then, they see us playing songs like Butter Beans, and they see that we know how to have fun, too.”
Although it may seem like the Marines are doing these events solely to benefit the interested public, the events are good for the Marines, as well.
“I think this gives the band a good chance to get feed-back,” said Coager. “It’s good for the Corps because it gives other people the chance to see that there is more to us than what’s shown on T.V. or what’s printed in the newspapers.”
It’s no wonder the Combat Center Band is invited to return year after year.