MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Marine Band San Diego helped kick off this year’s holiday season by performing a free USO concert for the community Saturday at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
The band’s medley, jazz ensemble, brass quintet, party band and jazz combo performed their own renditions of traditional and contemporary holiday pieces such as Feliz Navidad, Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bells, and the 1997 Garth Brooks tune Belleau Wood.
“The band looked sharp and they were full of enthusiasm,” said retired Navy Capt. David Leueyn, a Vista, Calif., native. “Their playing style was right up my alley.”
Marine Band San Diego performs 60 percent of its concerts for the local community.
Their performances give the community an opportunity to see the Marine Corps in a different way, said Sgt. Andres Navarro, assistant enlisted band conductor.
Marine Band San Diego performs for thousands at over four hundred events each year, both in the local community and aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in support of Recruit Training Regiment graduations and other military ceremonies.
In order to encourage music education and aid in the recruiting of new musicians, they are also active in providing band clinics and concerts for high school and college students throughout Southern California, serving as musical role models for developing musicians.
“It’s always a pleasure and an honor to play in front of a crowd of retired service members,” said Navarro, a Venezuela native. “The San Diego community and the military have a good relationship and I think this helps.”
The USO concert also generated awareness for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, with guests bringing enough toys to fill several bags with gifts for local families during the holidays.
“I think it’s great that people donated all those toys for needy children,” said Dennis Dooley, event spectator. “It’s always important to give to charity.”
As the concert came to a close, band members and event spectators came together to share holiday cheer with a Christmas Carol sing along.