Marines

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Marine Corps Band New Orleans Jazz Ensemble Marines pose for a picture after receiving Marine Corps Band Small Ensemble of the Year for fiscal year 2015 in New Orleans, July 7, 2016. The members of the Jazz Ensemble won by selecting a unique piece called Martha’s Prize by Cedar Walton performed by singer and drummer Jamison Ross, a local New Orleans musician. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Devan A. Barnett)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Devan A. Barnett

New Orleans-Based Band wins Small Ensemble of the Year

8 Jul 2016 | Lance Cpl. Devan A. Barnett United States Marine Band

            Marines with the Marine Corps Band New Orleans, Jazz Ensemble won the Marine Corps Small Ensemble of the Year against every other small ensemble in the Marine Corps for fiscal year 2015.

            The Marine Corps Bands form smaller ensembles to compete at the small team level against other bands and their small ensemble groups.  There are 10 total bands made up of six small ensembles; but only one can be crowned Small Ensemble of the Year.

            “Jazz combo is comprised of talented and dedicated musicians,” says Cpl. Scott Wente, the bass player for the Jazz Ensemble of Marine Corps Band New Orleans.  “Our only concern in this ensemble is making sure the product is genuine and enjoyable for the audience. It’s also unique, in that, each individual is highly responsible for their part. It makes playing more challenging but also more rewarding.”

            The members of the Jazz Ensemble selected a unique piece called Martha’s Prize originally written by Cedar Walton and performed by singer and drummer Jamison Ross, a local New Orleans musician.  The ensemble practiced diligently to master the piece.

            “What we, as a group, bring to the table is a concern for the honesty of the music,” continues Wente.  

            The musicians would practice before and after their normal work hours to perfect their craft.  Their hard work, dedication and love for music paid off; when they submitted the piece they were selected for Small Ensemble of the Year.

            “We actually didn’t expect to win at all,” says Sgt. Randy West, the pianist for the Jazz Ensemble of Marine Corps Band New Orleans.  “We recorded Martha’s Prize on our own time just for fun. A couple of weeks later the command asked for small ensemble of the Year recordings so we gave them that one.”

            The victory was a validation of the hard work we put in perfecting our craft, both on and off the clock, says Cpl. David Linnenkamp, the trombone player for the Jazz Ensemble of Marine Corps Band New Orleans. 

The ensemble continues to work with all of their fellow band members, with hopes of putting their hard work towards winning Marine Corps Band of the year.

            “We are coming along musically, as well as in the other categories that are taken into account including the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program belt levels and our Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests to compete and win Band of the Year,” says Sgt. Marcus Robinson, the saxophone player for the Jazz Ensemble of Marine Corps Band New Orleans.

            The announcement for Marine Corps Band of the Year will be released by the end of the year.