|"The President's Own" - U.S. Marine Band - US Airforce Band - US Navy Band|
U.S. Marine Band will be performing in Porterville
|By Esther Avila, The Porterville Recorder|
|October 2, 2004 - 9:00AM|
PORTERVILLE -- A band whose primary mission is to provide music for the
President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps is
coming to Porterville.
|By Esther Avila, The Porterville Recorder|
|November 10, 2004 - 9:00AM|
PORTERVILLE -- Outstanding - was only one of the
words used by people to describe the United States Marine Band "The
President's Own" which played at the Frank "Buck" Shaffer Theater in the
Porterville Memorial Auditorium to a packed house Tuesday night. The band,
whose primary mission is to provide music for the President of the United
States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, took the stage among the
loud whistles and hand clapping of 1,763 people - 569 of which were in the
balcony of the auditorium. Following the introduction of the band's
conductor, Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Colburn, the men and women of
"The President's Own" played the Star Spangled Banner.
The Navy's premier jazz ensemble, the "Commodores," presents the finest in America's truly original music. A specialty unit of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C., the group features 19 of the Navy's top jazz and "big band" musicians. The Commodores combine the best of jazz and popular music.
By Esther Avila
PORTERVILLE -- There were three standing ovations Saturday night as the Commodores Jazz ensemble, performed at the Frank “Buck” Shaffer Theater inside the Porterville Memorial Auditorium.
The band, a specialty unit of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C., featured 19 of the Navy’s top jazz and big-band musicians.
Following the singing of the national anthem by vocalist Chief Musician Yolanda C. Pelzer, the band opened with a couple of numbers, including an original arrangement and composition by pianist Musician First Class (MU1) Dan LaMaestra from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The number also featured MU1 John Parsons on the drums and MU1 Robert Holmes on baritone saxophone.
“We’re working our way down California and up to Arizona during this tour,” said master of ceremonies Chief Musician William Moore. “Back in August we lost Maynard Ferguson. I understand he played here in this very auditorium in May. Tonight’s concert features a number of Maynard’s [selections.]”
Ferguson was a Canadian-born jazz trumpet player and band leader, well known for his swinging style and ability to play in a remarkably high register. He performed at the Porterville Memorial Auditorium in May and died on Aug. 23, following a brief illness.
Special acknowledgement and wishes for a speedy recovery were also made to “The one and only Buck Shaffer” during the concert.
Saturday’s concert was the Commodore’s first performance in Porterville. After playing in the Bay Area on Friday night, the band continued to Los Angeles on Sunday.
“We do really well in towns like Porterville,” said Holmes, tour manager of the band. “We love coming and inviting the community, and we especially love playing in towns where other groups don’t necessarily stop.”
Holmes, who said he has been greatly inspired by Count Basie and the likes of Duke Ellington, had traveled to Porterville in September on a tour advance.
“I met Buck Shaffer here in September and I was very impressed,” Holmes said after the concert. “When he told us that Maynard Ferguson had played here in May, we knew we had to include quite a few of his numbers into tonight’s performance in his honor.”
Aside from Ferguson’s music, the band played a number of crowd favorites – from a trumpet solo by MU1 Nicholas Cooper of “Maria” from West Side Story to the band’s rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Perdido” and Count Basie’s “Monten Swing.”
Pelzer returned to the stage several times, dazzling the crowd with her smile and vocals, as she belted out such hits as “The Big Hurt,” “That Sunday, That Summer,” and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”
And so it continued with number after number featuring various band sections or players through the evening.
“Commodore Eyes” featured the saxophone section while “Rebel’s Riviere” was a number written especially for the new bass player who was making his national tour debut with the band and known for his sight-reading abilities.
But it was one of Maynard Ferguson’s numbers, “Got the Spirit” from the “Live at Jimmy’s” album featuring various musicians -- including a guitar solo by MU1 David Malvaso, and what many in the audience later described as an amazing drum solo by Parsons -- that brought the audience to their feet in the night’s first standing ovation.
“In every concert we like to give you a mix of old and new,” said Mulligan as the band continued with “Duke’s Courts and Kings” – a medley featuring World War II-era music, which included a few Glen Miller numbers and a clarinet solo by Mulligan.
The program ended with the band playing a tribute to the armed forces of the United States – the United States Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy and closed appropriately enough with Pelzer once more taking the stage and ending with “America the Beautiful.”
“I enjoyed all of the concert but I especially liked the drums during that one number,” said Brandon Hill. “He was incredible.”
Through the evening, the 13-year-old saxophone player from Tulare could be seen in the audience drumming along to the music.
“It was wonderful – those 40s and 50s numbers – it was hard to keep myself from getting up and dancing,” said Jean Edwards, who attended with her husband, Hank.
Others expressed similar sentiments.
“It was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Diana Haggard of Strathmore. “It is so great that we can get something with such a high caliber here. And it was fun to run into so many of our friends here. We had a very nice evening.”
The concert was co-sponsored by The Porterville Recorder and the Porterville Unified School District.