Military Musicians Unite in the Land of the Rising Sun
November 13, 2012
CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN- Military musicians from all over U.S. Army Pacific united to perform in the largest military marching band festival in Japan. Members from 9th Army Band in Alaska, 8th Army Band in Korea and the 25th Infantry Division Band in Hawaii joined the U.S. Army Japan Band to form a 67-member marching band, dubbed the U.S. Army Pacific Band, to perform during the Japan Self Defense Force Marching Band Festival being held 16 and 17 November at the Nippon Budokan arena.
This is the first time a band of this size has ever been assembled by the U.S. military for this concert series. Sgt. 1st Class Frederick Crowther from the U.S. Army Japan Band is excited about the integration of the Army bands of the Pacific. "The band is much bigger than it has been, they (the audience) doesn't know what's about to hit them", said Crowther.
The creation of the U.S. Army Pacific Band is the physical representation of the U.S. Army Pacific's commitment to the U.S.-Japan Alliance. But beyond that, the JSDF Marching Band Festival has created a venue that brings the best military musicians in the Pacific together. Sgt. Tracy Williams, Jr. from the 8th Army Band said, "There are a lot of good people here, a lot of really talented people here, all in one place. They handpicked the best of the best to go on this TDY (Temporary Duty) and we learned a fairly complex show that will impress a lot of people."
After five days of rehearsals at Camp Zama, the U.S. Army Pacific Band will travel to Camp Asaka, a Japan Ground Self Defense Force Camp in Tokyo, for a day of rehearsals with the other Japan Self Defense Force bands and the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Band from Okinawa. From there they will conduct a final day of rehearsals at the Nippon Budokan arena prior to their public performances on Friday and Saturday.
Held annually, the Japan Self Defense Force Marching Band Festival draws a total audience of over 40,000 during its six, 2-hour, performances over a two-day period. This year marks the 48th time the festival has taken place since its inception in 1963 and will feature 13 military bands from the Japan Self defense force along with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Band and the U.S. Army Pacific Band.