News: Local community packs theater for 2nd MAW Band Christmas concert
Story by Lance Cpl. Brian Adam Jones
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - More than 1,600 members of the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point community filled the station theater Friday for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band’s 2010 Christmas concert.
Led by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Szabo, the more than 50 Marines in the band put their talent and enthusiasm on display for a crowd that seemed to relish the chance to see them perform.
The band put on a spirited, exciting performance that evoked feelings of the Christmas season for the young and old, featuring timeless Christmas songs such as “Santa Baby” by Joan Javits, “My Favorite Things” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin.
If the audience had been dreaming of a white Christmas, they were rewarded in the show’s finale when “snow” began falling from the ceiling.
Gunnery Sgt. Victor D. Miranda, the drum major for the band, said that while the 2nd MAW Band spends much of the year preparing for and traveling to performances around the world, it was gratifying to get the chance to perform for the local area.
“This is like a home game in football,” Miranda said. “We really enjoy putting this on for the community and the air station.”
In singing the praises of the band, 2nd MAW’s leadership was as loud and concerted as the band’s performance.
“In the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, we strive for excellence,” said Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, commanding general for 2nd MAW. “The 2nd MAW Band is an embodiment of that excellence. This is the best band in the world.”
In Christmas tradition, members of the Marine Corps Reserve were on hand with Toys for Tots donation boxes that quickly overflowed with hundreds of toys for needy families.
For the third year in a row, Lance Cpl. Arthur B. Romans donned his dress blues and accepted donations from concertgoers.
“Being a Reservist, I like being a part of the community,” said Romans, who grew up just outside the gates, in Havelock, N.C. “It feels good to see the smiles on people’s faces when they give.”
Often throughout the performance, band members seemed to struggle to suppress their own smiles, clearly pleased with the result of hundreds of hours of hard work and preparation.
“This concert presented an opportunity to see families, Marines, sailors and friends come together in a happy and festive environment,” said Cpl. Albert J. Charles, a percussionist with the band. “This was my third Christmas concert, but this one was the best. We put in a lot more hours.”
Charles’ wife, Selina, was featured as a vocalist in several songs, including “The Best Gift” by Barbara Streisand.
“That was the cherry on top,” Charles said of being able to share the experience with his wife. “Everyone loves her voice.”
Vocalist Abby Gore also leant her voice to the concert for songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Santa Baby.”
“She came in and rocked the house,” said Staff Sgt. Santwan C. Odom, a musician with the band. “She brought a different flavor that helped make this Christmas concert our best ever.”
The collaboration between the band and the vocal contributors resulted in a show that left the audience in awe.