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By Gunnery Sgt. Ronna M. Weyland | | July 10, 2009

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Despite the job one has in the Corps, the motto ‘every Marine is a rifleman’ still stands. Building on this philosophy, the band officer of the Albany Marine Band created a show depicting the motto.

‘We are Marines’ is the message Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christian E. Flores, band officer, wants his team of musicians to portray to all of their audiences.

The band is one of twelve Marine Bands formed in 1990. From festivals to high schools, the Albany Marine Band performs more than 100 commitments on average during the year as a ceremonial ensemble and also several other break-out bands.

With this heavy schedule of performances, comes a lot of time on the road.

According to enlisted conductor Staff Sgt. Kristine Streng, the band travels close to fifty thousand miles during the year to perform in various areas to include San Diego, San Antonio and New York.

“Every piece selected was chosen with a purpose to tell the Marine Corps story,” Flores said. “The best way to get a message out is through music.”

The message has a huge impact in high schools as well.

“I tell my students the military is a great way to take advantage of getting paid to play your instrument,” said Jim Powell, head band director, Northside Health Careers High School in San Antonio. “These are high quality, professional musicians who serve their country and play a horn.”

Serving their country in the Corps is one of the messages Flores wants his audience to understand during a performance.

“We program accordingly by telling the story through words and pieces we select,” he said. “Even though we are musicians, we are Marines first and train just like every other Marine. And, we deploy to combat zones just like every other Marine.”

Streng, a native of Powhatan, Va., spent most of 2005 as sergeant of the guard for the Tactical Air Command Center, Security Platoon, Al Asad, Iraq. along with other fellow bandsmen while serving with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Band, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

The Albany Marine Corps Band recently performed at the reopening of the Statue of Liberty during the Fourth of July and still has more than 40 commitments before the end of the year.


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