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Cuts force Corps to deactivate MCLB Band

SSgt. Tony McCormick, of Enansville, IN., hits the right note on his trumpet while performing in the Albany Marine Band's "Home for the Holidays" concert at Darton College Wednesday night. The audience enjoyed over a dozen holiday favorites performed by the 2010 Band of the Year, which has traveled more than 20,000 miles last year providing music for military ceremonies, community celebrations and official events.

SSgt. Tony McCormick, of Enansville, IN., hits the right note on his trumpet while performing in the Albany Marine Band's "Home for the Holidays" concert at Darton College Wednesday night. The audience enjoyed over a dozen holiday favorites performed by the 2010 Band of the Year, which has traveled more than 20,000 miles last year providing music for military ceremonies, community celebrations and official events.

— So what’s the prize for being named the Marine Corp’s best band two years straight? Deactivation, according to Marine officials.

The Albany Marine Band has a reputation as one the armed forces’ pre-eminent performing arts ensembles and yet, as the Marine Corps attempts to deal with growing fiscal restraints, the group is finding itself on the chopping block with the axe expected to fall at some point in 2012.

The group was named the 2011 Marine Band of the Year by the Marine Corps this week, for the second time in two years, officials say. The band also picked up the award for best live recording of the year.

But Thursday, word came down from Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington that the band would be the victim of budget cuts.

The bands stationed at bases in Albany and Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., are slated for deactivation, according to the Marine Corps Times.

“The United States Marine Corps is America’s expeditionary force in readiness, and serves as the nation’s crisis response force. In order to sustain this capability in times of fiscal austerity and budget reductions, the Corps had to draw down in several areas. One of these difficult decisions involved deactivating two Marine Corps musical units, to include Marine Corps Logistics Command’s Albany Marine Band,” MCLB spokesman Lt. Kyle Thomas said.

Formed in 1990, the Albany Marine Band is one of only 12 bands in the Corps.

According to the group’s website, the band travels extensively, entertaining crowds across the country.

In December of 2003, the Albany Marine Band was awarded the distinguished “Commander in Chief Installation Excellence Award.” Signed by the secretary of defense, this award recognizes the members of the Albany Marine Band for their pride and commitment in performing their duties. The secretary of defense also noted the band’s exemplary achievements in supporting the mission through imaginative and innovative actions. The Albany Marine Band was given the honor of being selected to represent the United States in 2004, performing for the Changing of the Guard at the Citadel in Quebec City, Canada, the only non-Canadian Band chosen to do so.

In 2008-2009, the Band traveled more than 50,000 miles to perform at more than 100 commitments in locations such as Essex Junction, Vt., New Orleans, San Antonio, Texas, and at the re-opening of the crown at the Statue of Liberty in Liberty, N.Y. The Albany Marine Band performed for more than 20 million people nationwide in 2008-2009, along with performing on national television for Good Morning America and The Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.

With music as their primary mission, all Marine musicians in the band are selected by audition and must maintain a high level of instrumental proficiency. Additionally, with the Marine Corps tradition of “every Marine a rifleman,” all Marines in the band are fully trained to fulfill their secondary mission of bearing arms in the defense of the nation. Above and beyond their musical and military roles, each Marine has supplementary administrative responsibilities within the band to support the unit’s high operational tempo.

Comments

whattheheck 2 years, 10 months ago

Too bad but this is a money saver. For years, Albany had a band while only authorized a drum and bugle corps so it has already used up many of its nine lives.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 10 months ago

Get ready, the beginning of the end for the base.

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MeMe65 2 years, 10 months ago

It is unfortunate that the best band in the Marine Corps for the past two years and best live performer has to deactivate. Why not choose one of the less popular bands? Surely there is some way to reverse this poor decision. Have all means to stop this action been utilized? In a community which remains on Forbes top 10 poorest cities in America, this is a major blow to community relations. (PG)

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MeMe65 2 years, 10 months ago

The Marine Corps, like other Department of Defense organizations, must be mindful of budget cuts and community concerns. While this may be a sad occasion, if the deactivation process continues, it is part of the streamlining process to focus on the needs of the Corps.

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T_Paine 2 years, 10 months ago

The issue at stake here is not that the MC is deactivating just any band, rather that of two bands they are choosing to deactivate one of them is the top Marine band in the nation. That's like deactivating the Chicago Bulls in the early 90s....

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rock 2 years, 10 months ago

These Marines will have more and better opportunities to excell as both Marines and Musicians at MCB Quantico. They will be closer to HQMC, be surrounded with more and better musician Marines and will be in better positons for promotions. While here, the band stayed on the road and were rarely supported by the entire community. Keep in mind as well these Marines are the hardest working, most dedicated Marines assigned to MCLB Albany. I hate to see them leave, but i wish them all fair winds and calm seas. Kudos and BZ to each and every one of them.

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Jacob 2 years, 10 months ago

Yet more of the current admistration's failure to understand the importance of national security.

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rock 2 years, 10 months ago

What does this have to do with National security??????

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Cartman 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank you MCLB Albany Marine Band for a job well done! You have a great sound and a great presence. You were excellent examples for our youth. Hold your heads high because we all know you are the best. Good luck in each of your individual careers. Merry Christmas and Semper Fi.

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Jacob 2 years, 10 months ago

rock, let me connect the dots for you. The article, in part, is about budget cuts to the United States military. The world has become less safe, incrementally. The present administration has seen fit to cut funding to the entity that is charged with protection of this nation. Based on your comment, you did not seem to understand the basic concept that cutting funding to the military will make it weaker, not stronger. If you still can't grasp that concept, there is nothing I can do to enlighten you.

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