MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band had several golden moments during 2010, including playing for the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Canada, performing at the opening of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky., the 2010 Cherry Point Air Show, the Cherry Point Christmas Concert, and a top Marine Corps performance award.
Setting the stage for 2010 was the Christmas Concert of 2009, which pulled about 1,200 listeners and propelled the band into a year of top performances.
“Last year’s Christmas Concert was kind of a launching pad,” said Staff Sgt. Kristofer P. Hutsell, the enlisted conductor for the band. “To get the numbers we had last year at the Christmas Concert was a surprise and that set the tone for the whole year of 2010.
From the beginning of the new year through April, the band focused mostly on training and performing at ceremonies, to include the historic activation of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, a training squadron for the Marine Corps’ newest fighter, the F-35B Lightning II.
In May, the band set out on its first major road trip of the year, performing a string of concerts in Indiana and Kentucky prior to the Kentucky Derby, during Kentucky Derby Week.
“We were able to perform at a lot of schools in the Kentucky area, did some recruiting for kids and we ended by performing at the Kentucky Derby Festival Parade in downtown Louisville,” said Hutsell.
After their first road trip, the band prepared for their performance at the Cherry Point Air Show, which drew in more than 156,000 people.
Later in the summer, the band crossed borders into Canada, where they had the unique opportunity to play for Canada’s Parliament.
According to Hutsell, it was a rewarding experience to go to another country and play in a joint performance with the Canadian Ceremonial Guard.
The band is considered an important support element of 2nd MAW because it exposes service members and civilians to professional grade music. In Master Sgt. Richard D. Dengler’s opinion, the band has made an impact on the community around Cherry Point and civilian’s perception of the Marine Corps as a whole. Dengler, the band master of 2nd MAW Band, explained the band members are like ambassadors of the Marine Corps to the civilian world.
“Marine bands as a whole are sometimes the only thing that the public sees with regard to the Marine Corps,” said Dengler.
Hutsell added his opinion, saying one of the most moving experiences of the year was a tribute to World War II veterans at the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern, N.C. The band played for local veterans who had returned from visiting the monuments in Washington, D.C.
During the fall, the 2nd MAW band was featured in a Marine Corps recruiting video recorded throughout eastern North Carolina and New York City.
“With this video, I wanted to portray the Marines as elite fighters and elite musicians,” said Brian Stieler, the artistic director of the video production with JWT advertising agency. “It’s important for people to know how hard they train to be Marines as well as outstanding musicians.”
The band’s performance of “Molly on the Shore” during the recording of the video earned the band the Marine Corps’ Live Performance of the Year Award.
Performing in Columbus Day parades in New Jersey and New York, the band then split into four groups to perform at more than 30 Marine Corps Birthday celebrations aboard MCAS Cherry Point.
To top off the year’s performances, the band put on a Christmas Concert in front of more than 1,600 spectators who packed Cherry Point’s theater.
“That was a great way to end,” Hutsell said. “We went out of 2010 with a bang.”