Marines Jazz It Up
By Cpl. Thomas Lantz
| | May 22, 2004
1st Marine Corps District Public Affairs Branch, Garden City, N.Y. --
Recently, five Marines stationed in four different states came together in Trenton, N.J., to form an “All-Star Marine Jazz Ensemble.” The Marines performed for hundreds of guests at Trenton’s newly renovated Patriot Theater.
This year’s event marked the first time Marines have participated in the U.S. Scholastic Band Associations summer lineup, one of many concerts, which are part of this years Youth Education in the Arts’ Fifth Annual Brass Concert Celebration.
The All-Star Marine Jazz Ensemble was formed by Staff Sgt. Joshua Stone, musician placement director, 1st Marine Corps District, Garden City, N.Y., in an effort to publicly demonstrate the versatility of Marine musicians and further highlight the enlistment opportunity to local youth.
One such multitalented Marine was Maj. Shane Tomko, commanding officer, Recruiting Station Portsmouth, N.H. In addition to being an infantry officer, he is an accomplished pianist and vocalist.
“We had a blast tonight, but more importantly we had more and more students talk to us about the music program and the Marine Corps in general,” said Tomko.
Winston Byrd, Director of the USSBA Honors Jazz Ensemble, commented on the Marines performance and on his opportunity to play alongside the Marines for a portion of their performance.
“I’ve always had a high respect for the armed forces. It was an absolute honor to share the stage with the Marine Corps. They provide this country with absolute protection.”
He later added that playing alongside the Marines was a high point in his career. “The Marines exemplify class, leadership and responsibility. They’re a class act,” said Byrd.
Byrd also said after seeing the Marines up close and personal that he’d have no problem recommending the Marine Corps to a high school or college music student. “First and foremost because [the Marine Corps] instills honor and responsibility,” said Byrd.
Terry Fields, alumni of Crossman Drum Corps, also noticed the same multifaceted attributes the Marines convey. “I think it’s great [the Marines] are here to represent our country and also be here with the kids,” said Fields. “They were definitely a show stopper.”
From left to right standing is Staff Sgt. Timothy Otis, musician placement director, 9th Marine Corps District Headquarters, Kansas City, Mo., Sgt. Jason Knuckles, saxophonist, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Ga., seated are Staff Sgt. Michael Diuguid, drum major, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Ga., Staff Sgt. Joshua Stone, musician placement director, 1st Marine Corps District Headquarters, Garden City, N.Y., and Maj. Shane Tomko, commanding officer, Recruiting Station Portsmouth, N.H.