Saturday, October 08, 2011

An Early Birthday Celebration....

Colonel Michael J. Colburn, USMC, was the "leader of the band" and it was quite a musical evening.

The United States Marine Band was in town at Charleston Southern University last night.

It was my first time on the campus but I followed the crowd and eased my way to a seat in the front row of the balcony at Lightsey Chapel.

Duh, of course I had my camera.

As many people know, I'm a former Marine and November 10 my Corps turns 236 years old.

This evening of military music was a great way to mark the upcoming birthday in a special manner.

A member of my Photography Group - also a former Marine - responded when I posted I had some extra tickets.

The concert was free but you had to arrange tickets in advance.

It was a near sellout. All the seats downstairs were filled and there were just a few vacancies in the balcony.

I remembered that John Philip Sousa had led the band known as "The President's Own."

The grand old "March King" composer was the 17th Director in the late 1880s but the band was created by an Act of Congress in 1798, more than 200 years ago.

It's mission - then and now - is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

My evenings at the White House and at Corps Headquarters on "I" Street in DC have not happened yet so this probably was my best bet to hear them play.

The first half of the show was Sousa marches, overtures and other military tunes.

Some of the symphonic melodies reminded me of concerts at the old Memminger Auditorium when I was in high school back in the 1950s. Yikes.

The second half saluted the era of the "Greatest Generation" with the music of the 1940s. "Roadies" dressed in Marine utilities hoisted a large xylophone onto the front of the stage for several selections by SSgt Jonathan Bisesi, soloist. He played well-known classics for that very resonant instrument.

The evening ended with a medly of songs for each branch of the service. We stood proudly for the Marine Corps Hymn.

I had owned a set of "dress blues" back in the day but I had never seen such bright scarlet tunics as worn by the members of the orchestra.

Pretty snazzy guys and ladies!

(Please do click on the photos for larger vews.) It was a bright and colorful and patriotic and nostalgic evening. Charleston was fortunate to be a city on the 2011 National Concert Tour. Thanks CSU.

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