The 16th Annual
From 06 - 21 November 2004

 Glebe Music Festival

In conjunction with The Glebe Society Inc

The US Marine Forces Pacific Band - America's Musical Ambassadors-
concerts and parade in Glebe, Saturday 26 November 2005

It poured rain on Saturday morning 26 November 2005. The US Marine Forces Pacific Band travels with a chaplain. There may well be a connection! Because the Saturday afternoon was warm and sunny for a series of three concerts separated by parades in Glebe by the US Marine Forces Pacific Band. The first indication that something unusual was happening in Glebe may have been the flash of brass, the glint of the sun on a highly-polished tuba. Then the blast of trumpets and the crashing of percussion heralded a stately parade down Glebe Point Road starting at Wigram Road.

The 46 members of the much-celebrated US Marine Forces Pacific Band were in Sydney to participate in the 16th Glebe Music Festival, under their Director and Officer-in-Charge Lauren LaVine. As soon as the idea of the Band performing in Glebe started to gel, Dr McIntosh, the Artistic Director of the Glebe Music Festival, explored other possibilities for it to perform elsewhere in Sydney. The Band members, seated knee-to-knee in a 30 year-old C130 aircraft along with tons of equipment, arrived in Sydney Tuesday 22 November after a 22-hour flight from Hawaii where they are based. On the Thursday morning they performed for veterans, staff members, patients, local schoolchildren and others at Concord Hospital. The schoolboy invited to conduct the Band will never forget the experience. That afternoon they performed at the Children's Hospital Westmead, telecast to the bedsides of the sick children and visiting them afterwards in the wards.

Friday 25 November saw them at St Andrew's College, University of Sydney, for an end-of-term concert, in the presence of the Vice-Chancellor. The astonishing diversity and range of their repertoire and skills were on display here - they had even picked up Christine Marrinan, a children's nurse and part-time singer, to join their jazz combo. But it was not until the Saturday that they were seen and heard in motion. They started with a concert in the reserve outside Glebe Library with repertoire drawn from Fillmore, Carmichael, Williams, Mangione/Ford/Herak and Sousa, all eagerly greeted by an enthusiastic crowd. Miraculously (with thanks to the mounted police and local police), the traffic stopped as the Band stepped out onto Glebe Point Road and paraded to Waltzing Matilda and Sousa, to Foley Park where more people were waiting for their second concert. Then a second march down Glebe Point Road past the markets to the Peter Forsyth Auditorium for another concert, before going to Summer Hill to perform in front of a huge crowd at a school carnival.

The US Marine Forces Pacific Band came to Australia directly as a result and in collaboration with the Glebe Music Festival. They had clearly done their "homework" and decided that what we have to offer suited them: a diverse range of concerts, non-profit making, community-based, etc.

Dr McIntosh did all the negotiations, which took months. There was extraordinary and invaluable support from various sources: the Reserve Forces Day (Lt Col John Moore), HMAS Kuttabul (accommodation provided by LCDR David Jones), the Council of the City of Sydney (who co-ordinated the parade, arranged the Martin Place concert and provided a grant), the Premier's Department (who gave the Glebe Music Festival top-billing on the website and cleared the logistics for the parade), the US Consulate, the Glebe Society and others too numerous to mention.

The Band conducted workshops and performed at the Bondi Beach Public School, as part of an educational programme through the US Consulate, and also performed at the Manly school. The Band was billed to perform over 2 hours in Martin Place on Tuesday 29 November but in the event, stayed for 3½ hours. The final performance was at Victoria Barracks, an official function for the opening of Reserve Forces Day in the presence of "top brass", on Saturday 3 December. Then the band members were knee-to-knee again, their mountain of equipment and instruments stacked beside them, for the long flight back to Hawaii.

Those many who had the good fortune not only to hear the US Marine Forces Pacific Band but also to meet Band members were struck by their passion for music, their professionalism, their formality, their friendliness and their commitment to being good ambassadors. They were embraced by the various communities and organisations with whom they had contact. And their chaplain had raw knees as he succeeded in warding off the rain for each of the occasions when they performed outdoors.

Back to Calendar of Events 2005

Past Events
The Musicians
The Venue
The Instruments