Article by Sarah Joseph
As the Quantico Marine Corps band walked into the Cregger Center gymnasium those who served were apparent. They sat a little taller, more alert, and their overall demeanor transported them back into their unit.
“Once a marine, always a marine,” a veteran present at the performance proudly said. It was clear from the onset of this performance (and this school year) that this was going to be special.
This year, Roanoke College celebrates its 175th anniversary.
As students who are returning know, RC has been celebrating this anniversary since 2016 turned into 2017. The spring semester began the celebration with various events, such as the joint Roanoke College-Hollins student film displays and the Alumni Weekend fireworks and festivities.
This fall semester, RC is wrapping up its celebrations with a strong opener of the Marine Corps. The last time the Marine Corps band graced these hallowed halls with their presence, it was RC’s 25th anniversary 150 years ago.
According to President Maxey, the last time they were here, “this Yankee band was protested.” Because this was right after the Civil War and since Roanoke is in Virginia which is a former Confederate state, this would make sense. Planning went into getting the band to come back about two years prior as the band is a highly selective and elite performance to book, especially in the summer.
The band frequently performs within the boundaries of D.C. and every year they go on a National Tour in September, with strict limitations in which they will play.
Tradition and brotherhood are huge to the Marine Corps. These core values extend into almost everything they do. As previously stated, there are restrictions for the events the band will play at. According to their website, “Fundraising activities or other collections in connection with Marine Band tour appearances are prohibited.”
They refuse to partake in any event that benefits or seems to benefit “any private individual, commercial venture, sect, political or fraternal group.” The concerts must be free of admission, as they are reflecting the ideals of the nation: for the people.
In much the same way the Marines are viewed as sticklers to tradition, this band did not veer from the script. Each note was clear and crisp. There were no hesitant starts, no missteps, no awkward pauses, and no hanging notes. It was as close to perfect as one can get.
The conductor stood with a straight back and used controlled, stern movements to conduct. Before every song, there was a short historical story connected to each song, spoken in the quick, clipped tones of a military man. The highlights from
The highlights from this performances were the contemporary songs played. When the Star Wars theme song began to play, one could tell this was a crowd pleaser as the freshman seated on the floor snapped their heads to the front, with their mouth open in joy. Then, when one of the marines came down from their stage to the floor and grabbed the mic, the whole atmosphere changed.
The once-controlled atmosphere surrounding the marines seemed to change. The discipline was still there but with a more relaxed feel. This man broke out to sing “You Make Me Want to Shout” and “Superstition”. He even broke out some dance moves. The singing seemed to pull the freshmen out of their trance and a few even stood up to dance in the middle isle. One student even swing-danced with president Maxey