June 1, 2013 -- CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa - Service and community members gathered to watch the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band perform its Friendship Summer Concert June 1 at the Camp Foster Theater.
The two free performances were open to the public and included genres ranging from pop to marching band music.
The concert’s title accurately embodied one of the band’s goals, which is to develop a connection with the community through music, according to Gunnery Sgt. William D. Mike III, the drum major with the band.
“The old cliché, ‘music is a universal language’ applies, especially here on Okinawa,” said Mike. “It’s about making an emotional connection with the audience. If we move their hearts, if we get them feeling something during the concert, then we’ve done our job.”
Members of the audience realized and appreciated the sense of togetherness promoted by the band, according to Asami Shiroma, a concert attendee.
“I really enjoyed today’s concert and the friendship we have with the III MEF band,” said Shiroma. “I’m a fan of the band, and I came here to share in the friendship we have with the service members.”
Band members felt the high level of preparation put into the event contributed greatly to the emotional impact felt by the audience.
The preparation was not easy, but well worth it, according to Lance Cpl. Kyle M. Lota, a trumpeter for the band.
“At times it was very difficult squeezing in rehearsal time, but overall I think the concert was a huge success,” said Lota.
Throughout the performance, Chief Warrant Officer Stephen B. Giove, officer in charge of the band, narrated for the audience along with the help of interpreter Aya Toyama.
The concert featured several distinct pieces of music and ensembles, such as a saxophone quartet, a brass band and a large jazz ensemble. The event concluded with the entire III MEF Band playing its instruments while marching through the aisles of the theater.
“The best part was when the whole band came out and went into the crowd,” said Shiroma.
The band members plan to continue their mission of promoting friendship through music, and they hope the community looks forward to attending and enjoying more concerts in the future as well, according to Mike.
“We represent a small piece of the U.S., so I think the community really looks forward to coming to our performances,” said Mike. “It gives them a taste of what some of us call home.”