OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa - Lining the road, spectators watch in awe as the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band marches down the street showcasing their musical mastery.
Various community groups and the III MEF Band proudly displayed aspects of their unique cultures during the International Carnival in Okinawa City Nov. 30 at Koza Music Town.
The carnival featured a variety of performances representing various cultures, according to Lance Cpl. Jonathan D. Scibiur, a motor vehicle operator with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, III MEF and spectator at the event.
“There were quite a few (cultures) represented here, (including) Hawaiian and Brazilian,” said Scibiur. “The Takaesu Junior High School Band also played remarkably well. The III MEF Band marched in the parade and had a short performance afterward.”
During the concert, the band played the Japan National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner and other musical selections.
“One of the things I thought was interesting was when the III MEF Band played a song from one of Okinawa’s TV shows that (the crowd was) familiar with,” said Scibiur. “It was a Japanese song, people clapped and when the announcer asked if anyone knew the song, (they) raised their hands.”
One of several nationalities at the carnival, the III MEF Band represented the U.S. to the local community, according to Gabe A. Cometa, a medical clerk with Internal Medicine at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa on Camp Foster and spectator at the event.
“(The concert) showed that there are Americans who are interested in the culture,” said Cometa. “Learning about the (traditions) and language is a really big part of being a good ambassador.”
As an ambassador representing the Marine Corps and the U.S., the band presented itself as an entity of good will, according to Sgt. Ryan W. Wiley, a section leader with the III MEF Band.
“(The III MEF Band) is often (perceived as) the public face of the Marine Corps,” said Wiley. “Especially at that concert, we didn’t just represent III MEF Band to the people of Okinawa, we represented the Marine Corps and the U.S.”
Overall, the concert and the parade provided something new to both the community and the service members, and it encouraged the different groups to step outside their personal boundaries, according to Wiley.
“It was just a great opportunity, a great performance, and I’m glad I could be a part of it,” said Wiley.