Cleveland, OH --
The Marine Corps Quantico Band recently visited northeast Ohio, where they performed at the Cleveland International Tattoo at Playhouse Square May 17.
Not to be confused with getting ink permanently written on the skin, a tattoo in this case refers to what was once known as a military drum performance. Over the years, it has come to mean general ceremonial performances of military music by large bands.
“A tattoo is always a lot of fun, and it was no different here in Cleveland,” said Staff Sgt. Tony McCormack, enlisted conductor with the Quantico Band. “It is good interaction between us, police departments and the community.”
On each stop of their demanding annual performance schedule, the Marines make an effort to go out and visit high schools within the local community. During their visit to Cleveland, the band made a visit to Elyria High School.
Often times the band will perform at the school and speak to the musicians about music and what it is like to be in a band for the Marine Corps.
Elyria band students were given the unique opportunity to play side-by-side with members of the band.
“This was just an awesome experience for myself as well as my students,” said John Shepka, Elyria High School band director. “I was very nervous getting to conduct [the Marines] along with my students for a few songs. It was actually a little overwhelming, but I am so glad I was able to do it.”
During their time with the students of Elyria High School, the Marines were able to share experiences and offer advice on how to get better with their chosen instruments.
“We love getting the chance to work with the students and share our love of music with them,” said McCormack. “We were once where they are, sitting in the seats of a high school band. Hopefully they can see in us that they are capable of big things and can one day be where we are.”
Having the band on hand to be a proof source for those high school musicians with possible aspirations of joining the Marine Corps was extremely beneficial for the recruiters in attendance.
“It is always nice to have someone who does a certain job in the Marine Corps to actually be able to speak to interested kids about that specific job field,” said Sgt. Brandon Witherspoon, a native of Stonewall, Ga., and the noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-Station Norwalk. “Not only were they able to have their questions answered, but they were able to play with them as well and see their skill set, which is huge when deciding if it is something that they might want to do.”