News: Party Band rocks pier during San Francisco Fleet Week
Story by Cpl. Michele Watson
SAN FRANCISCO - The 1st Marine Division Party Band rocked before hundreds of San Franciscans at Pier 39 Oct. 8.
"Old Breed Brass," as they call themselves, offered a free concert at Fisherman’s Wharf as part of San Francisco Fleet Week.
Since USS Bonhomme Richard docked at Pier 30/32, Oct. 5, Marines and sailors have worked toward demonstrating the capabilities of the Navy-Marine Corps team and sharing knowledge about the military community.
Shortly after walking the streets of downtown playing their tunes, the Marines visited the popular pier to show off a different side of the Marine Corps.
“Concerts like this show that Marines are not always serious,” said Cpl. John T. Finch, a trumpet player with the band. “It shows the people that their sons and daughters are part of a bigger organization than just fighting in the war.”
Finch also said the band appreciates when so many people come out to hear them and show their support.
“The San Francisco community is always fun to play for,” said Finch. “The way they react to the music, it’s amazing.”
Unlike the traditional Marine Corps band that plays for ceremonies and parades, the party band gets more room to set their own tune.
“It’s fun. It rocks,” said Cpl. Dalton J. Lee, 1st Marine Division Party Band tuba player. “We get to break away from the strict side and just ‘do what you wanna.’”
“Do What You Wanna,” “Lollipop,” “Bad Romance,” and “I Wanna Be a Billionaire” are some of the newer selections the band played for the patrons. Some more traditional songs like “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Bourbon Street Parade” were played as well.
“Everyone loves music, and it’s good to have balance, whether it’s band, rock, R&B or traditional music,” said David T. Lind, a spectator of the concert. “It’s good for the country to have the Marines come out here, and this Bay Area needs to remember its roots.”
While rocking out to their own beat, members of the band enjoyed getting to shine a brighter light on the Marine Corps.
“We get to show the American people the other side of the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Alex A. Garcia, a drummer with the band. “We come out just to play and let people sit back and enjoy our music.”
Lee also said the best part was demonstrating the happier side of the military.
“They get to see us let our hair down and have fun,” said Lee. “The big thing we like to do with this band is take some of the old music and put it with some newer stuff.”
Citizens danced and clapped as "Old Breed Brass" played on, with solos and singing included.
“The band had a lot of energy and were grooving with the songs,” said Susie Friedman, a concert attendee. “They had a lot of interaction with the crowds, and I think it shows that the Marines aren’t always uptight, but that they can have a good time too.”